(Leslie) MacDonald Gill (1884 – 1947)

On 7/7/2017, Jonathan Evens (Associate Vicar for Partnership Development at St Martin-in-the-Fields) posted on joninbetween:

“The Church of St John-the-Divine (Richmond) – interior shown above – was built between 1829 and 1831 under the Church Building Commission’s funded programme for new churches as a chapel-of-ease to the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene to serve the growing community of ‘New Richmond’.

Designed by the early Gothic Revival architect Lewis Vulliamy, it is a fine but much altered example of a Commissioners’ church – economical in design and construction, but distinguished by some delicate ‘Gothick’ features inside and out. The particular significance of the church lies in the reconstruction and major extension of its ‘eastern’ end carried out in 1904-1905 under the direction of (and) designed by Arthur Grove and its enrichment in subsequent years with fittings and furnishings by leading designers, artists and craftsmen of the Arts and Crafts tradition including Nathaniel Westlake; stained glass artists Christopher Whall and Mabel Esplin; Henry Wilson; Eric Gill and Macdonald Gill; Ernest Gimson; William Bainbridge Reynolds; sculptors Richard Garde and A.G. Walker; and painter Dorothy Smirke.”

www.macdonaldgill notes of Eric Gill’s younger brother:

Max and Eric were very different characters.  Although outwardly very sociable, Max was actually an intensely private man, who rarely revealed his feelings.  Like his father, he hated argument and conflict, which he would avoid by retreating into silence. Eric, on the other hand, relished a heated discussion and would be annoyed at Max’s refusal to engage in argument.  However, the brothers shared a passion for the lettering taught by Johnston, and both designed many fine inscriptions and memorials, sometimes in collaboration.  In other ways their art diverged dramatically.  Although Eric started training in architecture, he soon turned to letter-cutting and sculpture, and later to typography and engraving.  His inspiration derived from a fascination for the human form coupled with strong religious beliefs. Max, on the other hand, continued as an architect but was also drawn to mural painting, mapmaking and commercial graphics.  He rarely drew people except for curious cartoon figures, and instead was fascinated by buildings – particularly churches – and ships.  

In 1912 he embarked on a number of joint architectural and church decoration schemes with fellow architect Arthur  Grove including St John the Divine in Richmond.  In the same year Max moved into a studio in the Temple at No 1 Hare Court, which he kept until the end of his life.”

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