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calligraphy eric gill lettering Thoughts on lettering

Masterful and beautiful: David Jones

The lettering of David Jones has featured once before in this blog (see here), but is of such individuality and beauty it is a shame not to show more. Those who follow Gill (or like his stuff) will know that Jones was part of that ‘set’, being once engaged to one of Gill’s daughters. (He died a bachelor.)

The illustration shown here is from about 1948 (the text reads Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will: Jones was Catholic), so dating from what Nicolete Gray in The Painted Inscriptions of David Jones [Gordon Fraser, London: 1981], describes as a period when his work started to take on a painterly style.

This piece (40.5cm by 33cm) is done in pencil, DEO in red, other letters in yellow crayon under the pencil. The background is black and yellow wax crayon on a green-gray watercolour wash. Gray notes that the open R in the first line is the first example of its use in Jones’s work.

On a personal note, David Jones is buried in Brockley cemetery, London SE4, very near where I lived, since Jones spent the last years of his life (he died in 1974) living nearby. I visited the site a few times and once assisted John Skelton when he was asked to ‘renovate’ the grave.

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lettering Thoughts on lettering typography

Something for the weekend – David Jones

I was going to write more on Nicolete Gray, as promised in an earlier post this week. [see here] That will have to wait a while. But in the meantime this does have a connection because the illustration comes from a book about the poet and artist David Jones written by Gray – The Painted Inscriptions of David Jones (Gordon Fraser, 1981). This piece is called Optima Goreu, meaning Truth is the best muse. [Appropriate given the WikiLeaks affair this week.)