By Ed Evans

In our calligraphy A – Z, we highlight key aspects of calligraphy, one letter at a time, and it is featured among other great SLLA highlights in our members’ newsletter, Inc. Become a member to receive this and much more to your inbox every quarter.

We are looking for our next contribution to this series, which is, of course, the letter ‘H’. The subject matter itself can be anything related to calligraphy, so please, get your thinking caps on and contact Helen Parkin with your ideas.

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Leslie MacDonald ‘Max’ Gill (1884-1947) was the immediate younger brother of the sculptor and letterer Eric Gill (1882-1940). Max Gill was an artist and designer of remarkable versatility — architect, illustrator, graphic designer, letterer and mapmaker. The two brothers were very different in character but they shared an enthusiasm for the lettering of their friend and teacher Edward Johnston (1872-1944).

In this centenary year of the start of the First World War we have seen many photographs of the vast cemeteries where the slaughtered lie and we are familiar with the dignified and unified design of the grave stones, 180,000 in total, but seldom is the artist named.

Max Gill, at the invitation of The Imperial War Graves Commission, designed the inscriptional alphabet and regimental badges on the headstones which are all of the same size and shape as decreed by the architect Edwin Lutyens. Max Gill also designed many war memorials including those in Chichester Cathedral and at several Oxford Colleges.

But this is only a small part of his very varied and exciting artistic output. Come and learn more at our social evening at St Bride’s on Tuesday, 25 November when our speaker will be Max’s great niece and biographer Caroline Walker who will give a lively illustrated talk about his life and work.

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Calligrapher’s A – Z: G is for Gill

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