We must talk about Eric.
Before paedophilia became fashionable and groping was outlawed, there was the artist Eric Gill. He had it away with his sister, his daughters and his dog. Way to go, Eric. He wasn’t into groping, it was the real thing on nothing for our Eric. Of course he was a Roman Catholic and his stations of the cross in Westminster Cathedral are some of many masterpieces that Londoners can enjoy. Others being at the London Transport Building, the BBC, RIBA and at Tate Britain and V&A. Others have pointed out the possibilities of the carving Piping the Children which is one of the Gill reliefs which adorn the BBC’s Portland Place building.(see link)
But as often, it starts with a walk. Hassocks to Clayton with its wonderful church with the almost intact medieval murals. Up onto the South Downs past windmills Jack and Jill and then a three mile stretch to Ditchling Beacon. To the south Brighton ,the brave winter sun shining so bright on the sea. No other Ridgeway in Britain gives the sea,the hills and such a view of the Weald.
Just before Ditchling Beacon, the Downs open up into unfenced arable land.The soft feminine contours stretch in an easy drifting way . No wonder Gill loved this area. Last Friday’s cold day kept other walkers to a minimum, it was a joy.
And then the descent to Ditchling village which Eric Gill made famous with his Arts and Crafts commune. This is now celebrated by an absolutely excellent museum ,one which I had never been to before visited.
A classy lunch with a roaring fire in the Bull. Here I shared a long wooden table with a pair of yummy mummies who were plotting something very giggly.
And then the museum. A pearl. Enough and not too much. Almost no one there and a great range of carved, written,painted and woven work on show. Not least the commune invented the London Transport type face.The lady in the shop told me she was a recently joined volunteer. I asked her how much she knew about Eric. Nothing . I loved it, I told. We had a adult chuckle, I spent some money, she couldnt work the till, more chuckles.
A quick look at the historic church in Ditchling ,the graveyard had been particularly affected by the cabal of great artists and craftsmen who had lived in the village,and then a 30 minute walk along the road back to the station. On the way home there was the most wonderful sunset. Sometimes ,life can be very good.