Eric Gill, A.R.A. (1882-1940)
Eric Gill, A.R.A. (1882-1940)

Torso - Woman

Eric Gill, A.R.A. (1882-1940)
Torso - Woman
Bath stone, on a slate base
22¾ in. (57.8 cm.) high, excluding the base
Carved in March 1913.
Edward Marsh, by whom purchased at the 1914 exhibition (£23 12s 6d), and by descent.
Acquired by the present owner from the Estate of Phyllis Morris, Edward Marsh's niece, in 2000.
J. Collins, Eric Gill The Sculpture, London, 1998, pp. 82-83, no. 39, illustrated.
London, Goupil Gallery, Contemporary Art Society First Public Exhibition, April 1913, no. 153.
London, Goupil Gallery, Eric Gill, January 1914, no. 4.
Ditchling Museum, on loan, July 2003 - January 2004.

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Lot Essay

Judith Collins comments on the present work (loc. cit.) 'This is Job 474 in Gill's ledgers and it was carved for his own pleasure. It is listed as 'A woman, sketch in Bath stone for a large fig. in grey HW [Hopton wood] stone', and Gill records that by 13 March 1913 he had spent thirty-six and a half hours carving the stone. It does not appear that the larger version in Hopton wood stone was actually carved. Torso - Woman continues the series of the partial female figure that Gill introduced at this time with a similar work with the same title. This female is naked, with long hair and with her arms cut off at shoulder level. She adopts a slight contraposto and only emerges at knee level from the block of stone ... [The present] work is listed as being sent to the Contemporary Art Society show at the Goupil Gallery in April 1913 at a price of £50 with Gill 'to retain a copy in plaster'. In January 1914 he sent it to the Goupil Gallery and received £23 12s 6d when it was bought by Edward Marsh'.

Sir Edward Marsh (1872-1953), Churchill's private secretary for over 35 years, and a great patron of the arts, wrote in a letter to the poet Rupert Brooke on 22 January 1914, 'I think I told you I was wanting to buy a Gill statue. Well, I have! it's a lovely thing. I shall trust to luck to be able to pay for it' (C. Hassall, Edward Marsh A Biography, London, 1959, p. 270).

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