Masters and Apprentices

Masters and ApprenticesThe Lettering and Commemorative Arts Trust’s exciting new shop and gallery space at Snape Maltings in Suffolk has a new exhibition – Masters and Apprentices. It emphasises the importance of passing on skills, and focuses on the seven letter carving apprentices funded through the Trust, as well as four generations of Masters, tracing their skills back to Edward Johnston and the British Arts & Crafts Revival.  The exhibition is on until 29th June 2014. A fully illustrated catalogue is available.

Masters and ApprenticesThere are few, if any, recognised qualifications for letter carving, yet it is one of the oldest of skills, going back to ancient times. Throughout history trainers working in letter carving have been passing on the skills and knowledge to trainees, yet due to that lack of qualifications, it is impossible to tap into government funding to learn the craft.

 

Masters and ApprenticesLCAT have done extremely well to have put seven apprentices through training, and the work of some of these and their masters is on show in this exhibition. The exhibition’s curator, Gary Breeze, has emphasised skills transfer from Edward Johnston, who many regard as the father of modern calligraphy, working at the first half of the last century, and who was a great influence on his one-time student and then colleague and friend, the sculptor, letter carver and letter designer Eric Gill. David Kindersley trained and worked with Eric Gill, and also trained many others including his wife, Lida Cardozo Kindersley.

Photographs by David Holgate

Worship and Glory exhibition

Litany of LoretoAn exhibition of amazing craftsmanship and true artistry is on until December at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace. The main attraction is the twelve Litany of Loreto embroidered pieces made in the early 20th century. Sadly the RSN website contains few images, but these here may tempt you to get to the exhibition.

Litany of Loreto

 

The panels are in muted colours, and show incredible skill with the needle. Shading is done purely by cross hatching using slightly darker colours.

 

 

Litany of Loreto

 

This close up shows just how subtle the embroidery is, with slight shading on the upper eyelid, and just the hint of tears.

 

 

 

Litany of Loreto

 

And this shows a larger section of that panel where the hair really does look as if the slight wave has been painted rather than stitched. Note too the wonderful expression on the child. It is quite astonishing that this has been achieved by needle and thread alone.

 

 

Litany of LoretoAnd finally an even larger section showing where the detailed sections above came from.

MacDonald Gill exhibition

MacDonald Gill

MacDonald Gill

Most people have heard of Eric Gill, the great letter cutter of the first part of the last century. He carved the Stations of the Cross at Westminster Cathedral and the Ariel figure for the BBC as well as many inscriptions. Others may know of his type designs including Gill Sans and Joanna, the latter named after his daughter.

Fewer people know of his brother, MacDonald Gill, known as Max. He created very lively and colourful maps, posters, logos and typefaces too.

This is one of his maps – London Wonderground.

London Wonderground

There is to be a new exhibition on his work opening next month. Many of the exhibits were in the loft of the cottage where he lived with his second wife, Priscilla Johnston, daughter of the Master Calligrapher Edward Johnston. Her nephew, Andrew, inherited the cottage and found the originals tucked in all sorts of hidden places – not only in the loft but also under tables and hidden in wardrobes.

 Max's baby shoesA rather sweet exhibit will be his shoes, where the name ‘Eric’ as well as ‘Vernon’ (another brother) have been crossed out and ‘Max’ scratched on in replacement. I suppose with 13 children in the family hand-me-downs are inevitable.

The exhibition is at the Pitzhanger Manor House, Ealing, a Grade I listed building designed by John Soane in 1800, and looks worth a visit on its own!

Out of the Shadows: MacDonald Gill will open at PM Gallery & House on 20 September until 2 November 2013. For visitor information and opening times, see http://www.ealing.gov.uk/pmgalleryandhouse. To see more of Gill’s work, visit http://www.macdonaldgill.com.

http://www.ealing.gov.uk/info/200893/pm_gallery_and_house/686/exhibitions/2
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2013/august/macdonald-gill