pRiC GILL completed three
" works just before he died in November, 1940, and they were three works in which he was particularly interested as things happily achieved.
While in hospital awaiting his operation, he corrected the final proofs of the Autobiography. Before going to hospital he put the final touches to the large carving of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, on either side of the crowned Christ on the Cross, which will adorn tha English Martyrs' Chapel in Westminster Cathedral.
The third work, which was completed at the same time, was the set or drawings for the Stations of the Cross for his own parish church of St. Augustine's, High Wycombe. He had previously designed the halduchino, the crucifix and candlesticks for the High Altar and he was particularly pleased when the parish priest, the Rev. E. Lockyer, commissioned him to design a set of stations. He had already de:signed a set of stations for Mgr. O'Connor, of Bradford, in which the figures consisted or incised lines carved on stone and the groves painted. This time he proposed that the same should be done on wood.
The drawings were made and the
work of carving was carried out by Eric Gill's son-in-law, Denis Tegetmeier. Only three were completed before Eric's death. The rest have been Faithfully completed from the drawings. and on Sunday last. the 1-east of the invention of the Holy Cr-',s, the Very Rev. Nicholas Hannuth. the Guardian of St. Bernartline's College. Buckingham, solemnly blessed and erected the stations.
TWENTY YEARS ELAPSED There is a gap of more than twenty years between the great carvings of Westminster Cathedral, which were Eric Gill's first set of Stations, and the simple, small, chaste incised lines of the Stations at High Wycombe, which were his last. But in the difference is seen the epitome of a lire's achievements-the striving to make a thing of beauty in the mood of serene and contented contemplation.
Writing in 131ackfriars 0920, Eric Gill explained his reasons for what he had done in the Westminster Stations. S. There is no crowd depicted, because we ourselves are that crowd.
" The soldiers are put as passive agents, Prof as partisans.
" The costumes are in no way to he regarded as historically accurate. They are simply garments such as anyone might wear at atey time—at any rare, the artist gave little or 110 thought to them, except as more or less reasonably beautiful shapes.
"The expressions upon the lures are also as jar as possible impassive. Any attempt to realise the varying degrees of agony suffered by our Lord has been avoided, because the artist felt it to he no part of his busiFIFA'S to ifnpose his own notions upon others.
" He has confined himself to what might be called a diagrammatic treatment of the subjects. They are meant to be what in words is railed ' plain language' and in music ' plain chant.' The worshipper may, if he will, think of them simply as impassive reminders of the scenes of our Lord's Passion. They do not attempt In express his feeling.s for himi —they are like the beads of a Rosary: Ile roust say his own Ayes and make his own meditation."
The same discipline wart imposed on the designing of the high Wycombe Stations, hut it now becomes an accepted and not a challenged one. There was no strain ahout it and hence there went into the lines a matured technique and a calm liveliness, which allowed the artist to seek and to find his life's quest—the beautiful thing.
The Catholics of High Wycombe are privileged to possess one of the last fruits of Eric Gill's genius.