115

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English Literature, History, Children's Books and Illustrations

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Gill, Eric.
FINE SERIES OF 44 LETTERS AND 9 POSTCARDS TO AUSTEN HARRISON, TOGETHER WITH 9 LETTERS AND 1 TELEGRAM FROM MARY GILL AND 2 LETTERS FROM DENIS TEGETMEIER

discussing designs for The Palestine Archaeological Museum [now the Rockefeller] in Jerusalem ("the idea is to symbolize the nations that have had a cultural influence on Palestine... I hope I haven't made any bad mistakes or made designs which will give offence to any party. The Persians are the only ones I don't get clearly...") with a listing of proposed panels and expressing opinion of his work ("...I'm v. miserable about the main door. I was ill when I finished it. It shows..."); proposing ideas for a bookplate for Harrison; mentioning the Golden Cockerel Press Four Gospels ("...I'm v. glad the Canon liked the G.C.P. Gospels. I wish some publisher wd order us to print a lectern book. It wd be a grand thing to..."); discussing a project in Geneva for the League of Nations and price of Swiss workmen ("...All I know is that when I was there visiting they told me 'Lyons' 7d. costs 10/6 in Geneva'. That is how they rob you, these neutral Swiss..."); noting delays in his work ("...indignant letter from vicar of S. Andrew's, Croydon only yesterday, asking when the deuce, dickens or bloody hell – or words to that effect – I'm coming to finish the carving...") and his lectures ("...I've got to go to Newcastle... to give... 'Place on sculpture in mod. civilization'! What blooming ho..."); expressing an opinion on the routine of work ("...carvings, books, engravings come up like stars and go over head and sink into the all absorbing past – some forgotten forever..."); discussing work for a Kingston department store ("the whole thing to adorn and perfume a monstrous sham Queen Anne grocers shop, multiple store, called BENTALLS. Unfortunately the job ended in a mess-up because they gave me a drawing to go by and I thought the animal on top of the helmet was a dog. But it was supposed to be a leopard. Old Bentall very excited and insulted..."); describing the state of England in the late 1930s ("the medieval 'war, pestilence and famine, battle, murder and sudden death' have their exact parallels everywhere. The disunity of Christendom remains the outstanding menace..." and "How can anything be put straight in Palestine while we are sodden with money grubbing and general corruption here?"); presenting ideas on war and peace ("...it seems to me clearer and clearer that war, modern mechanized war, is impossible – and there's now no other line to take but complete refusal to take part in it."); discussing the abdication ("...He really did threaten their whole show – their whole damned, hypocritical, finance-ridden show... We are 'ruled' by the deaf and dumb..."); noting views on broadcasting ("...I never have talked on the wireless and have always refused to do so in this country, but there are circumstances at the present time which tempt me to accept the invitation of the Palestine Broadcasting Orgn."); discussing plans for a theatre or concert trip ("...I wouldn't at all mind a good farce (but not Shakespeare)..."); referring to building a church (St Peter's) in Gorleston-on-Sea and commenting on the death of G.K. Chesterton and the second world war; together with many other varied topics; c.89 pages, 4to and 8vo, 6 February 1934 - 20 August 1940, some creases and short tears, most letters secured by split pin


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Catalogue Note

Austen St Barbe Harrison (1891-1976) spent nearly 15 years as the chief architect to the Department of Public Works in British Palestine. He also designed Nuffield College, Oxford. In the 1950s he was living in Cyprus and befriended Lawrence Durrell. Durrell's Bitter Lemons is dedicated to Harrison. He first worked with Eric Gill on the Palestine Archaeological Museum. Gill later designed a bookplate for him (see Skelton P887) and Mary Gill's edition of her husband's From the Palestine Diary is also dedicated to Harrison. This lot includes a copy of From the Palestine Diary, lacking the illustrations, bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe. Loosely inserted is a photograph of Gill in Palestine. Also included is a printed description of the Palestne Archaeological Museum.

English Literature, History, Children's Books and Illustrations

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London