Stations of the Cross by Eric Gill

Prior to being a typographic designer and creator of Gill Sans, Eric Gill trained as an architect and a sculptor. One of his most famous sculptures is his rendition of the Stations of the Cross as commissioned by the Westminster Cathedral in London from 1914-1918. Stations of the Cross is a series of fourteen images in Christianity which depict the events of the day of Jesus’s crucifixion as ordered by Pontius Pilate. The series of images is most often associated with the Catholic church as many churches have the fourteen images placed on the walls and also plays a crucial role in worship services during Lent. Gill’s rendition of the Stations of the Cross is specifically known as a bas-relief sculpture. Bas-relief being a type of carving or sculpting where the sculpt or carving is done lightly on the surface. A more common everyday example of bas-relief work can be seen in U.S. coins as the they are stamped bas-relief. Gill’s Stations is also carved out of Hoptonwood stone which Gill played a pivotal role in popularizing throughout the 1920’s and 30’s. Other sculptures done by Gill in Hoptonwood stone include reliefs done for The BBC, the Palace of Nations in Geneva. ¬†Gill in addition to playing a pivotal role in popularizing Hoptonwood stone was also a crucial player in the English revival of carving directly in stone rather than using clay models first. Gills style as a sculptor can be seen as a predecessor to his to his typographical design choices as many of his reliefs are simplistic and precise in design a stylistic choice he would transfer to his typographical designs.