eric gill lettering Typographic ephemera

Printer’s and sculptor’s hat

I was taught how to make one of these hats, beloved of Gill, but also worn by tradesman in the printing industry, by a fellow who worked in the composing room of the Financial Times when I first started there as a journalist in the late 1980s.At that point the FT was located at Bracken House, a fine red brick building opposite St Paul’s, with the printing presses in the basement and sub-basement. Hot metal was still much in use when I arrived, though it was on the way out. I still remember how the building shook when the presses were started up for the first edition at about 9pm. (We even had our own in house pub – more a bar but beloved by journos and printers alike.)

When I was working on the Gill project in 1990 at my private press (see previous post on Pigotts) I made a hundred of these hats, printed on newsprint, with Perpetua Titling around the ‘rim’ and an extract from his Essay on Typography on the top.

It was a huge success and sold out very quickly. This is the only one I have left, number 1!


By John Pitt

Artist and Creative

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