Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent—some lettering by Eric Marland

The lettering back at home on Emmanuel Road (click on the photo to enlarge)
Over the years I've had the good fortune to get to know some very fine letter carvers (why is long story I might tell another time . . .) and one of them is Eric Marland whose workshop is in the same cemetery in which Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) is buried, a philosopher whose thinking changed my life in so many positive ways.

It's a beautiful and peaceful place to visit and many times during the year I'll make my way up the Huntingdon Road either by bicycle or on foot to spend a while philosophising whilst walking its paths or sitting in the sun on one of its benches. Although the place is full of many famous people it also contains three people who were friends of mine and whose funeral services I conducted, so my visits are always more than merely vicarious "grave-spotting". Another philosopher friend of mine, alas also now dead, was Jonathan Harrison (1924-2014). His house on Halifax Road was just a few hundred yards from the cemetery entrance and so, after visiting him for lunch (I'd bring the fish and chips and he'd provide a splendid bottle of wine), I'd often wander over the road both to clear my head from the fine wine before returning to my desk and, of course!, also to think a little more about the various ideas Jonathan and I had been exploring over lunch.

Anyway, on one of those visits a few years ago I dropped into Eric's workshop to say hello before heading down Castle Hill back into town and he showed me a carving that he'd just finished of the famous last sentence in Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922):

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.
(Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent [trans. Ogden] or What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence [trans. Pears & McGuinness]).

Alas, as a piece it was spoken for but he assured me that, in due course, he was going to make a few affordable copies of it in resin and he'd keep me posted about when one was available. He was true to his word and just this morning with Susanna I went up to his workshop to pick it up, shoot the breeze about letter-related things and, naturally, to say hello to Wittgenstein and my friends once again.

The photo at the head of this post was taken when I got home and the ones below were taken in Eric's workshop this morning.

Just click on a photo to enlarge it.

Eric with the inscription holding up his Albertus typeface tea-towel

Eric and his current apprentice Matt Loughlin with the menu of the Erania Restaurant of "blessed" memory above lettered by Jon Harris

One of Eric's carvings of some of his own words

Wittgenstein's grave recently restored by Eric


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