Born in 1882, Gill was an artist, letter carver, gadfly, polemicist, and social reformer. In 1925, he had started drawing alphabets and printing books, and in 1931, this plainspoken little book was a fustian and forceful argument for common sense in design, composed for anyone remotely interested in the subtle and evolving challenge of the typographic arts. Set rag right, with tight word spacing, it is a model of composition. The text, like most of Gill's, is exasperating, exorbitant, and exciting. But Gill was, above all, a craftsman, whose work always reflected his philosophy and whose hand always followed his moral convictions.
About the Author
Born in 1882 in Brighton, England, Eric Gill displayed interest and talent in lettering and architecture at an early age. Encouraged by W.R. Lethaby of the Central School of the Arts and Crafts, he began carving letters and attending the classes of Edward Johnston. In 1903 he struck out on his own, beginning his life-long career as a self-employed craftsman. In 1924 Stanley Morrison asked Gill to write about typography for The Fleuron. He declined, saying that typography was "not his country." By 1925, however, Gill had started drawing alphabets (one of which was eventually to become Perpetua) as well as formulating the principles later collected in his celebrated "Essay." Eric Gill was a man of countless talents. By his death in 1940 he had mastered any number of crafts: sculptor, stone carver, engraver, philosopher, and type designer. But at heart he was always a progressive radical, a social reformer whose work always reflected his philosophy, and whose hand always followed his moral convictions.