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THE PASTGill's diaries record frequent visits to London museums and art galleries to look for sources for his lettering and inspiration for his art. On 10 November 1910 he wrote that he went 'to exhibit of Post Impressionists at Grafton gallery in noon with Jacob [Epstein] & Brit Museum after'.Like many of his contemporaries in avant-garde circles in London, Eric Gill used the British Museum's collections. Their ancient and culturally alien sculpture and artefacts provided a rich source of inspiration for Gill, as they did for other sculptors such as Jacob Epstein (1880-1959) and later Henry Moore (1898-1986) and Barbara Hepworth (1903-75). Gill not only used the British Museum to seek out new ways of representing the human form, but also visited specifi cally to research ancient and medieval styles and designs as models. The short walk from his offi ce (previously Edward Johnston's lodgings in Lincoln's Inn Fields) brought him to the galleries of the British Museum. As he began his trade as a letter-cutter, he went there and to the Victoria and Albert Museum to study Roman monumental inscriptions, to develop his own distinctive version of Roman lettering. He published a guide to his new letter forms as an appendix to Johnston's manual on lettering for craft workers in 1906: 'Beauty of Form may safely be left to a right use of the chisel, combined with a well-advised study of the best examples of Inscriptions: such as that on the Design for George V's Great Seal, June 1914. Pencil drawing with pastel crayon, signed and dated by the artist (Royal Mint).158 mm (diam.).Gill submitted this fi nal design for the counterseal to the Royal Mint on 11 June 1914. He drew the king's mount with its back legs extended as when urinating, a typical subversive intervention. The design was approved, but with the outbreak of war with Germany on 4 August 1914 the new seal project was abandoned.19

eric gill: lust for letter & lineTrajan Column and other Roman Inscriptions in the Victoria and Albert and British Museums .' (see pages 9 and 21). He employed his distinctive new forms on his two inscriptions for the British Museum cut in 1911 (pages 22-3) and 1921 (page 24). In both cases the Museum was able to rely on Gill's reputation as the most competent letter-cutter of the time, allowing him to cut inscriptions directly onto the building in prominent positions.When Gill was approached by the British Government to design a new Great Seal in 1913, he turned fi rst to the British Museum to see what early medieval seals looked like and chose specifi c Funeral monument for Dasumia Soteris, Rome (now in British Museum), second century AD. Marble with red painted letters.Gill often visited the British Museum to study Roman letter forms and techniques.20