Eric Gill cathedral statues under review as church begins to address paedophile artist’s work


The chapter, which administers the Grade II*-listed cathedral, is understood to be considering what form any intervention to address Gill’s legacy would take, and this intervention may not be the last launched by clergy.

Another sculpture by Gill depicting Jesus on the cross adorns the St Thomas the Apostle Anglican church in Hanwell, London, and a memorial relief created by the artist is displayed in the village church of St Mary the Virgin in Lapworth, Warwickshire.

Other works in local parishes include a memorial to socialite Lady Ottoline Morel in the parish church of St Mary in Garsington, Oxfordshire.

The Church of England has said support will be given to local parishes who wish to address Gill’s legacy following the recent protest against his public work.

A spokesman for the Church said: “Eric Gill’s crimes, posthumously revealed, are abhorrent. Comprehensive lists of his art already exist, giving parishes and cathedrals the opportunity to review individually in response to their particular circumstances, and in consultation with their communities.

“The Church Buildings Council and Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England supports parishes and cathedrals with this as needed.”

The Church has indicated that, as with work to address legacies of racism and slavery, there will be no top-down review, but support will be given to local parishes who choose to act.

Work on Guildford Cathedral was begun in 1936, before Gill’s death in 1940, and long before a 1989 biography which revealed his sexual abuse.

The biography by Fiona MacCarthy revealed that the artist had an incestuous relationship with his sister and sexually abused his dog and two eldest daughters.

This prompted sexual abuse charities to demand his artworks at Broadcasting House be taken down.

The artwork at BBC headquarters was attacked by a protester on January 12. He was arrested at the scene and bailed pending enquiries.


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