Eric Gill



Not on display

Eric Gill 1882–1940
Hoptonwood stone
Object: 946 × 781 × 127 mm
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1920

Display caption

Gill was one of several sculptors in Britain and abroad who pioneered the revival of the traditional skill of carving in wood and stone. Like many modern artists, he drew inspiration from what was then seen as ‘primitive’ art. This included non-western carvings and ancient and Medieval European art. This work can be related to medieval English carvings and to the work of Paul Gauguin, which was itself influenced by African and Polynesian art.

Gallery label, July 2007

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Catalogue entry

Incised on the back with the symbol of an eye on a hand. On the front, to left and right of the upright of the cross, there is an inscription in Greek from Matthew xix. 12, and on the upright itself a Latin inscription from Psalm cxlvii, v. 10.
Hoptonwood stone relief, 37 1/4×30 3/4×5 (94·5×78×13).
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1920.
Coll: Purchased by the C.A.S. at the Chenil Gallery 1911.
Exh: Sculptures by Mr Eric Gill and Landscapes by Mr J. D. Innes, Chenil Gallery, January 1911 (10), as ‘A Crucifix’; C.A.S., Loan Exhibition, Manchester, winter 1911 (273); C.A.S., Loan Exhibition of Modern Paintings, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, October 1912 (245).
Lit: Stanley Casson, Some Modern Sculptors, 1928, p.93.
Repr: Rothenstein, 1927, pl.4; Thorp, 1929, pl.1.

This is one of a pair of reliefs made in 1910. The companion entitled ‘A Roland for an Oliver’ was exhibited at the same time at the Chenil Gallery and was also acquired by the C.A.S. It represents a nude woman and bears an inscription from Swinburne's Hymn to Proserpine, lines 35 and 23–4. Walter Shewring records (letter of 19 July 1953), ‘In an unpublished letter to his brother Vernon E.G. wrote: “They are a pair - one being a symbol of renunciation and the other a symbol of acceptance.”’

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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