36 pt Gill Cameo Ruled

24 July 2009

GillCameoRuledWe bought this fount of 36 pt Gill Cameo Ruled on ebay this week. It’s not the sort of thing we usually go for, but this was irresistible. We don’t have a use for it in mind, but we’re confident that it’ll be just the right thing for a job one day.

Eric Gill, whose name it bears, was a purist – ‘Letters are things, not pictures of things’, ‘A is A and B is B’. We’re curious to know what he made of the many variants of his type face that Monotype released. It’s easy to imagine him condemning them, and just as easy to imagine him justifying them as the inevitable consequence of machine made things.

Gill Cameo Ruled was one of a great number of types sold by Mouldtype Foundry when they were still going. If a fount wasn’t needed they’d sell display sizes (18 pt and above) as individual sorts. We still have a line of 36 pt Pepita bought that way. We only bought type when it was needed for a job in those days, but looking back it’s a shame we didn’t get any Festival Titling. It’s hard to imagine using it very much, but what lovely letters.

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7 Responses to “36 pt Gill Cameo Ruled”

  1. Ben Brundell Says:

    Hello all at Hand & Eye: I, too, am curious how Gill was persuaded to design or endorse the myriad variants of the original elegant shapes. I understand that two variants were destroyed when Montotype’s headquarters was bombed in World War II — Gill Moiree and Gill Face. The mind boggles at how they would relate to the original Gill.

    On Festival Titling, I understand Ed Denovan is now casting this in Kent.

    • Phil Abel Says:

      James Moran wrote in Stanley Morison: His Typographic Achievement (1971) that ‘the Gill sans family grew to meet the various demands [of the LNER], and Gill cheerfully welcomed each successive test of the adaptability of his basic design.’

      In 1958 The Monotype Recorder Vol 41 No 3 commemorated an exhibition of Gill’s lettering and type designs. It was also the first showing of the newly-released Monotype Joanna. Its author is anonymous but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it was Beatrice Warde. (S)he wrote:

      ‘What has been most difficult for the trade to accept is the notion that Eric Gill could have been responsible for that Series 442 in which the object was to show how far the device of all-over thickening… could be pushed without actually eliminating the “counters”… But this was in fact one of the challenges which particularly interested the designer; it seemed to call for precisely that imaginative intervention by which the artist can reveal something beyond the scope of the pantograph or mechanical distorter. His drawings for the series now known as Gill Ultra Bold show brilliant ingenuity in avoiding such penalties of consistency as would result if the i’s dot had been fattened to the width of its vertical.’

      This passage is accompanied by a reproduction of Gill’s drawing for Sans “double-elefans”, initialed and dated 23.9.32

      I should have re-read them both before posting.

      Do you have Ed Denovan’s contact details, Ben?

  2. Tyrone Hopes Says:

    Hi Hand & Eye!
    I am also interested in rarer fonts. I like this variation of Gill. It will surely be used by a client of yours soon! I have been searching for more Festival (I have an incomplete font in 18 or 24pt). So far Ebay hasn’t obliged. The 1951 Festival of Britain font is inevitably so, so retro, but I think it should be about time for a comeback. And I am now very interested in contact details for Ed Denovan as well!
    Thanks Hand & Eye for bringing this to my attention!


  3. Regards the more extreme members of the ‘Gill Family’ I think it highly significant, though almost never commented on, that the decision maker about new typefaces at the Fetter Lane offices of the ‘blessed Corporation’ was Mrs
    Beatrice Warde, and that she was or had been
    in an extremely close relationship – to put it delicately – with Gill. She was the model for some of his best wood engravings. Anyway, by the time the Salfords drawing office were going to extremes, Gill was more interested in religious matters in Wales and goats. In passing, Monotype made the Aden 20mm Cannon for the RAF’s Hunter fighters.
    They could have taught Rolls Royce a thing or two about precision!.


  4. […] 36 pt Gill Cameo Ruled July 2009 6 comments 5 […]


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