the Pedophile Founder of Distributism
Eric Gill (1882-1940) was born in Brighton, England, to a minister of a
small Protestant sect. He eventually became an artist, well known for his
sculptures, engravings, sketches, writings, and type fonts. He married in
1904 and joined the Fabian Socialist Society in 1905. As is noted in
Distributist Perspectives, he is one of the founding members of the
Distributist worker community at Ditchling, Sussex. It was there that he
entered the Catholic Church in 1913. In his lifetime, he would found two
more worker communities. He would receive many important and prestigious
commissions, including works for Westminster Cathedral, the League of
Nations, the BBC, and the London Transport before his death in 1940.|
According to “Crossroads Lay Dominican Fraternities” website, updated by Fr.
Jerry Stookey, OP, Promoter General of Dominican Laity (click
here), Gill “was, together with other prominent figures like G. K.
Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc and Fr. Vincent McNabb, OP, a founder of the
Distributist movement.” Stookey also gives a definition of the movement:
“Distributism is an economic and social theory based on Catholic social
teaching, regarded as a ‘third way’ between Capitalism and Socialism. It is
one of the ideological roots of the Catholic Worker Movement, and has had an
indirect influence on the New Economics of E. F. Schumacher and through him
on today's Green movement.”
Gill’s articles and ideas are being revived, reprinted and spread by
so-called traditional and conservative Catholics. For example, his article
“Painting and the Public” was included in the book Distributist
Perspectives: Volume 1, Essays on the Economics of Justice and Charity,
published by IHS Press in 2004.
But what made Eric Gill famous was principally his art. How could one define
his art? I searched the Internet and found answers that were all very
• “Gill’s subject matter swung between the deeply religious and the highly
erotic, a direct echo of his eccentric life.” (ericgill.com)
Some readers might think that these critics are exaggerating when they
qualified Gill’s life and art as principally erotic. This was also my first
reaction. To check, I decided to make a more extensive research. What I
found categorically confirms the above-mentioned opinions.
• “Eroticism forms an important part of his work” (ibid.).
• “Present [in Gill’s work] are designs of graphic, erotic scenes which
stemmed from his bizarre view of sexual morality” (davidsongalleries.com).
• “[Gill] led a somewhat unconventional and alternative, often monastic
lifestyle, including taking on many lovers and producing erotic engravings”
Before pointing out a webpage with his works, I feel it necessary to give a
prudent warning. Gill’s drawings are extremely indecent. I don’t recommend
that anyone look at them. But since I was making a serious investigation
into exactly who Eric Gill really was, I went to a
site and analyzed some of his prints. I can assure you that the critics
were not exaggerating. The prints contain many nudes, including pornographic
and blasphemous ones. For instance, some depict male and female nude saints
with their respective halos performing the sexual act; another entitled
God Sending shows a naked and sexually aroused Christ descending to
earth; yet another entitled Earth Receiving shows what appears to be
the same Christ fornicating with a woman, possibly representing the earth.
One of the Gill's blasphemous drawings is
a Christ having sexual
relations with an undefined woman saint
It is important to emphasize that this webpage contains just some of Eric
Gill’s prints. It doesn’t include any of his sculptures, sketches, carvings,
etc. Gill left behind a very large body of work so probably many more erotic
“work of arts” can be found.
Catholic modesty does not allow me to reproduce here everything that I
found. Nonetheless, I have to show something to demonstrate that I am not
making empty statements. I selected only two of his drawings to expose who
he is. I apologize if these prints offend anyone, but it is necessary. The
same Catholics who, very unwisely, are promoting Gill might say that I am
lying or exaggerating if I did not provide evidence and web addresses.
Don’t think that Gill’s depravity is reduced to indecent and blasphemous
drawings. According to his biography by Malcolm Yorke (Eric Gill: Man of
Flesh and Spirit, London/New York: Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2000), Gill
had the disgusting habit of keeping meticulous, written descriptions of
every sexual relation he had and every solitary sin against chastity he
committed (p. 30).
In another biography (Eric Gill, London: Faber and Faber Ltd.: 1990),
author Fiona MacCarthy reports that his sexual obsessions included adultery,
incest, and pedophilia. Gill had sexual intercourse with his two sisters and
sexually abused two of his three daughters. Yes, this is what MacCarthy
states, and I found no refutations to these statements.
Naked saints - one male and the other female - touching bodies in a close
In another biography, also by Fiona MacCarthy (Eric Gill: A Lover’s Quest
for Art and God, NY; E. P. Dutton: 1989), his perverse lifestyle is
again affirmed. It is eye-opening to read the Editorial Reviews of this book
published on Amazon.com:
• Publishers Weekly describes Gill as a “highly sexed creative artist;”
A father and brother like Gill should raise the indignation of Catholics!
They should have an equally strong rejection of any of his ideas. It is my
opinion that this man should have been removed from society and put in a
psychiatric hospital for sex maniacs. It seems absurd that a man with these
moral patterns should be accepted and followed as an ideologue who knows
what is good or bad for society. Notwithstanding, today we can see, even
among Catholics, the name of this depraved father and brother being promoted
as a founder of Distributism.
• Library Journal endorses that “Gill flaunted traditional morality by
engaging in countless affairs as well as incestuous relationships with both
his sisters and daughters. Largely ignored by earlier scholars, these
intriguing contradictions are fully explored in this carefully researched
and uncensored biography.”
His pedophilia with his daughters became so notorious that some years ago it
raised the fury of some English Catholics who could not understand how art
works by such a corrupt man could continue to be displayed inside
Westminster Cathedral. In fact, a demonstration took place outside the
Cathedral to protest the Church authorities’ refusal to remove the Stations
of the Cross carved by Eric Gill. According to an article published at the
Wants Stations Removed," National Catholic Reporter, July 17,
1998), Cardinal Basil Hume and Cathedral authorities did not deny Gill’s
perverse lifestyle, but simply suggested that a distinction should be made
between his artistic skills and his private life.
Margaret Kennedy, coordinator of a London-based survivor's group, said the
purpose of the protest and prayer rally was to pray for Gill's victims and
all victims of sexual abuse. "What we object to is that people have to pray
in front of a pedophile's art work," Kennedy said. "How can his work be seen
as a focus of prayer? To us it seems as if incest is carved on every wall of
the Cathedral" (ibid.).
Who wants to follow Gill?
After reading several works of Arthur Penty – another founder of
Distributism – and finding that he was a socialist, communist and
anti-Catholic (click here), I
thought I should look into some of the other members of this little known
English movement of the early 20th century. Reading Penty, I felt offended
that so-called traditionalist and conservative Catholics were promoting him
as a master to build a new Christendom.
Now, after studying Eric Gill, I see that Catholics are also being advised
to stomach the terrible morals of a pornographic and blasphemous author. It
is incomprehensible that any Catholic would suggest lending an ear to such a
“Like father, like son.” With these two founders, Distributism projects a
very bad image of itself.
Related Topics of Interest
Other Moral Pearls of Eric Gill
A Torrent of Pros and Cons on Eric
Gill, a Founder of Distributism
Eric Gill, a Precursor of Vatican II
A Distributist Manifesto
Strongly Spiced With Communism
Socialism and Distributism in
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