15 NOVEMBER 1935, Page 32

WORK AND LEISURE By Eric Gill Almost all Mr. Gill's

writings centre round one or two essential problems of present-day- life, but, though it could be said that he is constantly returnins, to matters with which he has already dealt at length, it does not follow that 'he can be acetified of wasting his own time or the reader's. For his approach is so fresh , and his ideas so vigorous that it is always a refreshing and invigorating experience to read him on any theme connected with the arts. In his new volume of lectures, Work and Leisure (Faber, 5s.), we feel once more how great a privilege it is to be put in contact with a mind which, in clarity and energy, works like that of a great,. Scholastic. In his review of the present pOsition of the arts Mr.-Gill'draws a gloomy picture for us.. The divorce of ;art from coramerce, of the making of beautiful things 'from the making of useful things ; the degradation of the individual workman in our highly mechanised system ; the fact that works of art can now only be made in occupation of leisure time-7-these , elements compose a bad state Of affairs, which apparently can Only lead to the complete ugliness, of commercial objects and the complete uselessness of works of art. Mr. Gill ends on a phrase of despair : " What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? " Certainly the prospect is bad, but it may be that eastward the horizon' is brightening. Russia has so far failed dismally in the arts, but may it not succeed in creating a state of affairs in Which art shall once more be a question of communal interest and communal love, when it shall have a duty to perform, and artists be inspired to find the means of performing it ?