PEPLER, Douglas. ~ The Devil’s Devices or Control versus Service.
6 wood cuts and 5 triangular devices by Eric Gill. Copy no.1 of 200 numbered “proof” copies, signed by Eric Gill and inscribed by Douglas Pepler. 12mo., original quarter smooth cavas with red paper covered pictorial boards, some rubbing to boards, a couple of small marks, bumping to head and tail of spine, otherwise a very good copy of this early Gill work and collaboration with Pepler.
The book from the Hampshire House Workshop which is viewed as the precursor to the S. Dominic’s Press, inscribed for Christmas by Pepler to his fellow Hampshire House Workshop member and great calligrapher Edward Johnston” “To EJ with my love. The book and I would not have made much much of a show on our own account. But thanks are included in that which is greater. HDCP 25.XII.1915”. Thus this book is uncovers a key moment in the establishment of the Guild so important to the development of the Arts and Crafts movement and Morris’s ideas.
Edward Johnston was also one of the dedicatees of the book along with G.K. Chesterton and Eric Gill.
Hammersmith was the home of a community of craftsmen, a tradition which had begun with William Morris. Cobden-Sanderson and Emery Walker lived there as did Edward Johnston, of London Underground typeface fame, who was an enormous influence on Gill. Another inhabitant and a key figure in Gill’s life was Hilary Douglas Clarke Pepler who lived 3 doors up from Johnston on Hammersmith Terrace. Johnston and Pepler were close emotionally and artistically and their friendship gradually extended to include the Gill’s who lived close by in Black Lion Lane.
In 1907 Eric Gill moved to Ditchling in Sussex from his home in Hammersmith where he began to develop artistically, producing sculpture and sowing the seeds for the artists’ community which was to be established there. In 1912 his mentor Edward Johnston joined him in Ditchling and Gill moved to Hopkin’s Crank on Ditchling Common outside the village. In 1914 Gill began one of his great works – the relief sculptures of the Stations of the Cross for Westminster Cathedral.
He remained involved with Pepler and later with The Hampshire House Workshops which had been founded by Pepler using the variety of skilled artisans and workers who congregated in Hammersmith at the beginning of the war. In 1915, after becoming a publisher with Gill and Johnston’s help under the Hampshire House Workshops imprint, Pepler joined his friends in Sussex.