It's, I think, a little known fact that while a near legendary type designer, artist and pervert, Eric Gill was a woeful failure as a stamp designer. It's not that he didn't try. He tried quite a few times. Was invited to try on a number of occasions. But for some reason, his attempts at philatelic composition were met with rejection, rejection, rejection.
His stroppy attitude probably didn't help. Not one to hide his opinions, Eric made sure the powers that be knew his feelings on the subject. Them being that the humble, utilitarian postage stamp was just that, and no more. That it should be free from ornamentation, whimsy and sentimentality. And that anyone who felt otherwise, like the fiddly-fingered stamp collectors, were horribly misguided in both their thoughts on the matter and their chosen leisure-time pursuit.
Hardly surprising then that the decision makers at HM Post Office booted out the cantankerous old beard's designs, time after time. In fact, I suspect they had a right laugh doing it. Of course, Gill has unlucky too. His Edward VIII coronation issues were all ready to roll when the idiot king dropped his crown in favour of that floozy Simpson. In 1940 Gill drew the British crown for inclusion on a special Anglo-French issue only to have the work well and truly buggered by the Nazis when they forced France to surrender making the stamp design somewhat inappropriate. And then there was that confounded fool Harold Nelson. Obviously the PO's favourite his designs were forever pipping EG to the post.
Michael Russem at the Kat Ran Press, in Cambridge Massachusetts, very kindly sent me the booklet they've published on the subject, along with a postcard and a stamp that featured, in the end, a bit of Gill's lettering. Which is how I know this stuff now. Short but well illustrated, I really enjoyed the booklet, it's even laugh out loud funny at times. Included is Gill's own "Notes on Postage Stamps with Reference to a Lecture of Mr B Guy Harrison" from the Eric Gill Archive at the Clark Memorial Library at UCLA. Which is how you get such a good insight into the great man's crotchety mind.
You can get hold of your own copy here.