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The Meynells in Ditchling

Sat 6 January 2018 @ 8:00 pm - Sun 29 April 2018 @ 5:00 pm

The Meynells name has been a familiar one in Sussex and Ditchling since the turn of the 20th century: the bonds between Eric Gill and Wilfrid and Alice Meynell were forged through their shared Catholics beliefs and enthusiasm for typography when Gill was in his 20s and the older couple were in their sixties. Wilfrid was influential in securing for Gill the major commission for the Stations of the Cross in Westminster Cathedral, and his son Everard sold Gill’s engravings and sculptures in his London shop, Serendipity.

Through Eric Gill the Meynells came into contact with other members of the Ditchling community, with a particular friendship developing between Hilary Pepler and Wilfrid Meynell, who guided him through his conversion to Catholicism and became his godfather. The Print Gallery will host a number of works created by and for the Meynell family, including Esther Meynell’s Grave Fairytales with a customised dustjacket created by Edward Johnston.

Katharine Meynell, the guest curator of our Elizabeth Friedlander exhibition is not only the grand-daughter of one of Friedlander’s early champions, publisher and poet Francis Meynell (Wilfrid’s son), but also an artist and author. Alongside her family’s work, she presents a display showcasing Poetry of Unknown Words, a limited-edition work published by Gefn Press in 2017.

The book is the result of a collaboration with Susan Johanknecht, referencing gardeners, painters, sculptors, designers, scientists, writers, herbalists, choreographers and singers, and is inspired by an incredible and diverse range of women, including Elizabeth Friedlander, Eileen Gray, Barbara Hepworth, Janice Joplin, Beatrix Potter and Mary Wollstonecraft.

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