If you look at the lettering on some Penguin books or railway station signs chances are you’re looking at a lovely font called Gill Sans.

A fact for the hardcore perhaps but typefaces are an art form which can make all the difference between beauty and ugliness.

And Gill Sans is one of the most successful in the world. Why should we care? Well it was created by sculptor and craftsman Eric Gill.

Gill was born in Steyning, grew up in Preston Park and lived in Ditchling. He’s a proper local. His breathtaking sculptures adorn Westminster Cathedral, the BBC’s Broadcasting House and the United Nations Headquarters.

He is an artist of enormous repute.

He was also a paedophile who abused his daughters, their maid, had sex with his sisters and even his dog. His was a sexual deviancy on a monumental scale.

None of this is new. His biographer Fiona McCarthy revealed it in 1989 while the two daughters were still alive. She went on to opine that despite the controversy his artistic reputation had been “strengthened”. It is something of an understatement to call that a surprising view.

His sins, however, were unknown to me until Monday when I made my first ever visit to the Ditchling Museum of Arts and Crafts. It is a beautiful little place, as a temple to the best of design must be.

Gill, who died in 1940, made Ditchling his home before the First World War, became an ardent Catholic, set up a lay religious order in the village and inspired many artists to move there to live in his inspirational glow.

Ditchling owes its reputation for artistic endeavour to Gill. A plaque adorns the house in the main street that was his home and where presumably he preyed on his girls.

But it wasn’t Ditchling that taught me about Gill’s dark side. That was left to Google. Once back home I had looked up his name to find out more, so impressed by his sculptures, sketches and designs was I.

So should the museum make more effort to inform its visitors about Gill? There’s a reading room stuffed with books about all of Ditchling’s artists. I’m sure if you dig deep enough you would find something there but I suspect few do.

Indeed should Gill’s art be displayed at all? Many in the wake of the revelations about Gill argued that the life and the art should be kept separate.

But it was disconcerting to think of the sculptures of female figures and sketches, almost always naked, in quite the same way armed with the knowledge I acquired back home.

And what of the stone plaque on the wall of the house? Is that not inappropriate? Have Gill’s crimes been airbrushed?

It is hard not to make comparisons with the case of former Bishop of Chichester George Bell. The Church of England’s decision last year to acknowledge that Bell, who died in the 1958, abused a young girl and to pay his victim an out-of-court settlement has caused much controversy.

But the bishop’s name has been removed from schools and buildings. A memorial plaque in Chichester Cathedral to the clergyman of towering intellect contains a notice underneath that acknowledges the abuse.

Why the different treatment towards the man of the cloth and the artist? Could it be that different standards are at work? That an artist is allowed to be maverick, beyond society, even to Gill’s extent, if the work is good in the way a man of God is not?

If so that is cant. I know I’m late to this debate but that doesn’t alter the feeling that it is not Gill’s bathing glow that surrounds Ditchling but his dark shadow.

The Argus: Roy Hudd

I never really had much time for veteran comedian Roy Hudd. But in the car the other day he was being interviewed on Radio 4’s Chain Reaction programme which is still available online.

I almost switched it off but am glad I didn’t.

Hudd was so effortlessly charming, generous and funny it is tempting to roll out the cliché about them not being made like that any more.

I loved his pantomime stories. He was telling how the old music hall variety acts had to be crowbarred into pantos back in the day before there were TV “stars” to fill the stage.

In one a saxophonist called Gertie Gitana was playing Cinderella but the producer was struggling to get her set piece into the script.

Until that is he came up with a couplet for her to speak as her sisters went off to the ball. Here I sit all alone, she said, I think I’ll play my saxophone.

At which point she brought the instrument down from the chimney and gave the audience a five-minute blast. Priceless.