Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Ditchling Museum Of Art And Craft

The Museum of Arts and Crafts at Ditching has only a few minor works by Eric Gill, but his spirit predominates- as it did in the lives and over the work of his followers. Gill was mind-rackingly odd- a cult leader and sexual predator who achieved a version of modernism through a passion for medieval catholicism and is the only British artist who could be exhibited alongside Matisse and Picasso without seeming like a pale copyist or an eccentric interloper. Gill revolutionised sculpture and typography and produced religous art that convinces- which is a hard thing to do in an unbelieving age. He drew all sorts of craftspeople to Ditchling- where he established a pompously named guild-cum-commune with its own chapel- and it is their work, in metalwork and calligraphy and weaving etc that is mostly on show. There are oddities- for instance an example of the textiles that were woven for Charlton Heston to wear in Ben Hur and a small selection of drawings and contraptions by the (non-Gillian) cartoonist Roland Emmett. My favourite exhibit (sadly only on loan) is a garden roller carved on its ends (by a Gill disciple under the master's supervision) with sexually explicit images of a boy and girl.
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