Divine Lovers (Icon) pewter on a wooden base 13 cm. (5 1/8 in.) high (including base) Conceived by October 1923 and cast as an edition of 6
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, U.K.
EXHIBITED: London, Goupil Gallery, Goupil Gallery Salon, October - December 1923, no.393 (another cast) London, Goupil Gallery, Solo Exhibition, March 1928, no.15 (another cast) London, Goupil Gallery, Spring Exhibition of Modern Art, April 1929, no.134 (another cast) London, Barbican Art Gallery, Eric Gill: Sculpture November 1992 - February 1993, no.49 (another cast); this exhibition travelled to Newton, Powys, Oriel Gallery, February - April 1993, and Leeds, City Art Gallery, April - June 1993 (another cast) London, British Museum, Eric Gill, Public and Private Art, 10 February - 7 August 2011 (another cast)
LITERATURE: Exhibition catalogue, Eric Gill: Sculpture, Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1992, p.54, 94 Judith Collins, Eric Gill, The Sculpture, Herbert Press, London, 2006, cat.no.143, p.138 (ill.b&w) Ruth Cribb & Joe Cribb, Eric Gill, The British Museum Press, London, p.103 (col.ill)
Originally carved in boxwood by Gill between April and May 1922, by October the following year he had cast an edition of 6 in pewter with variation regarding the surround. Some set in a dark surround, whilst others (the present lot included) were cut to the contour of the two figures. The cast was first offered at the Goupil Gallery, run by William and Cecily Marchant, with whom Gill had exhibited with since 1914, in the Goupil Gallery Salon of October 1923, at a price of £5. Further casts were exhibited at subsequent Goupil Gallery shows, with Gill labelling the work Icon.
Casts may be found in the collection of the Ditchling Museum, Sussex, and also the Harry Ransom Centre, The University of Texas, Austin, U.S.A.
The image was also depicted by Gill in his relief print on paper bearing the same title (1922), a copy of which is held in the Tate Archive, cat. P08087.
A devoted covert to Catholicism, in October 1920 Gill co-founded the Guild of Roman Catholic craftworkers at Ditchling Common, Sussex. Alongside Douglas Pepler and Desmond Chute (later joined by Joseph Cribb), Gill sought to unite craftworkers in a religious fraternity with its primary emphasis on religious practise rather than craft. Publishing extensively, usually on handmade paper with designs by Gill, Gill remained a devoted member of the Guild until his relocation to Wales in 1924.