Eric Gill (1882-1940):
The Prioress's Tale, 1929
Unframed (ref: 10558)
Signed with initials and numbered 300 on the reverse, unsigned in the block
The original engraved wood block inlaid with gesso8.3 x 5.1 in. (21 x 13 cm)
Provenance: Sophie Schneideman Rare Books & Prints, London, Felix Dennis, London Sale, Sotheby's London, 9th December 2014, lot 184; Offer Waterman
Literature: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, The Golden Cockerel Press, London, 1929, vol. II, illustrated p.60 (the printed version);Eric Gill, Engravings 1928-1933, Faber & Faber, London, 1934, illustrated pl.36 (the printed version);J.F. Physick, The Engraved Work of Eric Gill, HMSO, London, 1963, p.158; Christopher Skelton, Eric Gill: The Engravings, The Herbert Press, London, 1983, illustrated p.282, pl. no.P588 (the printed version).
Eric Gill paid Robert Gibbings £200 for the blocks that the Golden Cockerel Press had commissioned up to 1933. He cut some of these to sculptured shapes, filled the engraving with a gesso-like substance, and sold them or gave them away as ornaments; thus ensuring that no further prints could be taken', Christopher Skelton, (introduction to Eric Gill, The Engravings, p 13).
This block was originally conceived as the half-page illustration introducing 'The Prioress's Tale' in the 1929, Golden Cockrel edition of the Canterbury Tales (P588) and published on page 60 of the second volume.