Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873-1938)

Pictured: The Lady Ottoline, 11A Northington St (corner of John St), Holborn.

“Gill was by nature socially mobile: dining with duchesses held no special terrors for him (though he did admit to a certain embarrassment when once, on a visit to a country mansion, the manservant carefully unpacked his case of tools for him and laid them all out on the table in the bedroom). At the same time he was conscious of his status as a craftsman, so central to his theory of relating art and life. It was not long before the London social whirl was claiming him in a way which must have posed some challenge to his workman’s credibility. “Saw Ed. Lutyens – nice chap,” he recorded in the diary. There were evening “At Homes” with Lady Ottoline Morrell, events famous for the merging of art world and aristocracy: Gill makes no comment, beyond noting that one night, after leaving Lady Ottoline, he had been fool enough to go home with a girl in Guilford Street.”

Fiona MacCarthy: Eric Gill (1989) Chapter Seven: Ditchling Village 1907-13

“…These vary in scope from a few words to whole war memorials involving over 5,000 letters. There can be few people in Britain who are more than a short journey from one of these pieces. Several of them must have had an additional poignancy for Gill who was called upon to carve tombstones or memorials for people he had known, such as Ottoline Morrell, Rupert Brooke, Ambrose McEvoy and G.K. Chesterton, and some he admired such as Beardsley…”

Malcolm Yorke: Eric Gill: Man of Flesh and Spirit (1981)

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