Eric Gill - Annunciation

Eric Gill (1882-1940)

Watercolour on paper

9 x 12 cm

c. 1912

Methodist Modern Art Collection
GIL/1992

Image Copyright © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. The Methodist Church Registered Charity no. 1132208

Luke 1: 26–38

Eric Gill sets the Annunciation in Mary’s bedroom. The Angel Gabriel, in a multicoloured robe, rather than the usual white, stands unshod before kneeling Mary.  He holds a lily with another in a vase behind Mary. This signifies that the Annunciation took place in the Spring and symbolises Mary’s purity. The chequer pattern on the floor is repeated in the bed-covering and the window panes which open on to a rich, deep blue sky.

The Holy Spirit is not included (it usually appears in Annunciations as a dove or ray of light). The text of Gabriel’s message ‘Ave Maria’ (‘Hail Mary’) and Mary’s reply ‘Fiat mihi’ (‘Let it be unto to me’) appears back to front because the picture was produced for projection through a mirrorscope (a sort of early overhead projector).

Commentary based on A Guide to the Methodist Art Collection.