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Discovering MacDonald Gill Caroline Walker Thursday 20 February 2020

Discovering MacDonald Gill, Artist and Mapmaker

MacDonald 'Max' Gill, younger brother of the sculptor and typographer Eric Gill, was an architect, graphic designer and letterer, best known for his pictorial maps, especially those for the London Underground. He also created painted maps for Arts & Crafts houses including Lindisfarne Castle, magnificent murals for Cunard liners, and eye-catching publicity posters for organisations such as the Empire Marketing Board. An enduring legacy is his alphabet for the Imperial War Graves Commission used on all British military headstones since the First World War. This illustrated talk is a colourful overview of this versatile artist's personal life and artistic achievements.

Lecturer Caroline Walker is Max Gill’s great-niece. After embarking on family history research in 2006, she became fascinated in the life and work of her great-uncle MacDonald 'Max' Gill 1884-1947). Although well-known in his time, he was all but forgotten after his death unlike his brother Eric Gill, the controversial sculptor. Recently there has been a massive resurgence of interest in Max's work - much the result of exhibitions Caroline has co-curated including Out of the Shadows: MacDonald Gill (2011) hosted by the University of Brighton and articles and she has written for publications including Country Life, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and the Journal for the International Map Collectors Society. She has also given talks for the National Archives, the Art Workers' Guild, Christie's, Friends of Kettle's Yard and the National Trust. Caroline is currently writing a biography and runs the MacDonald Gill website. 

image : Mail Steamship Routes,  MacDonald Gill