Baskerville, John (1706-1775)

Printer, type-designer, manufacturer. Professed atheist and anti-Christian.

In 1758, Franklin subscribed for six copies of his first important publication, a new edition of Virgil (1757). The two men became lifelong friends.

Suffered a series of financial difficulties, and solicited Franklin’s aid in selling his press to the French court (1767).

Began to manufacture painted and japanned articles (c. 1740). Began type-founding (c. 1750).

Designed a new printing type, which eventually became one of the most popular of all British-designed type faces. Manufactured his own ink and paper.

Elected printer to the University of Cambridge (1758).

Published, among others, editions of Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regain’d (1758-1759), editions of the Book of Common Prayer (1760), and a folio edition of the Bible (1763).

Born in Sion Hill, Wolverley, Worcestershire. Married in 1764 to Sarah (Ruston) Eaves. Moved to Birmingham, where he taught writing and bookkeeping, and cut inscriptions on tombstones.