PETRA TEGETMEIER, daughter of celebrated artist and typographer Eric Gill, has died aged 92.

Petra, a talented weaver, grew up in an unconventional community of artists and craftsmen on Ditchling Common.

Today picturesque Ditchling is a typical middle class village.

Eighty years ago it was home to a thriving community of Catholic craftsmen who lived and worked on Ditchling Common.

Best known of these was Eric Gill, one of the main founders of the community which was known as the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic.

Gill was an internationally renowned sculptor, artist, engraver, typographer and writer. His best known work includes the sculptures of Prospero and Ariel at Broadcasting House in London, the Stations Of The Cross at Westminster Cathedral and the Gill Sans printing typeface.

But the Brighton-born artist also had a darker side. He sexually abused his daughters, slept with his sisters and was said to have "endless curiosity about sex". Today his incestuous relationships and promiscuity would prompt outrage, but then he was simply thought eccentric.

Petra, the last surviving of Gill's three daughters, was not bitter towards her father and appeared not to have been damaged by the experience. She told friends: "We just took it for granted."

Petra and her sisters were educated within the commune.

Because they did not go to school they did not realise how unconventional their father's behaviour was. They did not even leave the community to go to church - the group had its own chapel.

Hilary Bourne, 89, one of the founders of Ditchling Museum and a friend of Petra, said: "It was part of her life, she didn't even think about it. She adored her father, she didn't feel any bitterness."

Petra's cousin, sculptor John Skelton, who lives in nearby Streat, said: "She was a very gentle soul who was always very kind to me."

Today the community's homes, chapel and workshops are long gone, but there is still considerable interest in Gill's work. Ditchling Museum, which has a gallery dedicated to him, attracts visitors from across the world.

The museum, which is currently undergoing refurbishment, will reopen at Easter.

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