John Baskerville

John Baskerville (January 28, 1706 - January 8, 1775) was born in the village of Wolverley, near Kidderminster in Worcestershire and was a printer in Birmingham, England. He was a member of the Royal Society of Arts, and an associate of some of the members of the Lunar Society. He directed his punchcutter John Handy in the design of many typefaces of broadly similar appearance.

His businesses included japanning and papier-mâché, but he is best remembered as a printer and typographer. He printed works for Cambridge University in 1758 and although an atheist, printed a splendid folio Bible in 1763. His fonts were greatly admired by fellow member of the Royal Society of Arts, Benjamin Franklin, who took the designs back to the newly-created United States, where they were adopted for most federal government publishing. His work was criticized by jealous competitors and soon fell out of favor, but since the 1920s many new fonts have been released by Linotype, Monotype, and other type foundries – revivals of his work and mostly called 'Baskerville'.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who once lived in Birmingham, may have borrowed Baskerville's surname for one of his Sherlock Holmes stories, "The Hound of the Baskervilles" - which, in turn, was borrowed by Umberto Eco for the character William of Baskerville in his best-selling novel, "The Name of the Rose" (Sean Connery played the character in the movie based on the book).

As an atheist, Baskerville was buried, at his own request, in unconsecrated ground in the garden of his own house, "Easy Hill". When a canal was built through the land his body was placed in storage in a warehouse for several years before being secretly deposited in the crypt of Christ Church (demolished 1899), Birmingham. Later his remains were moved, with other bodies from the crypt, to consecrated catacombs at Warstone Lane Cemetery. Baskerville House was built on the grounds of "Easy Hill".


A Portland stone sculpture of the Baskerville typeface,, "Industry and Genius", in his honour stands in front of Baskerville House in Centenary Square, Birmingham. It is by local artist David Patten. [] .

He is the subject of an animated film, due for completion in October 2008.

ee also


External links

* [ Birmingham City Council page on "Industry and Genius"] (includes picture)
* [ Birmingham City Council page on Baskerville]
* [ Revolutionary Players website]
* [ Extract from John Baskerville - Man with a mission (about the movement of his coffin)]
* [ Baskerville the Animated Movie]
* [ Some typographical studies] on the use of the Baskerville font (in French).

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  • John Baskerville — (28 de enero de 1706 † 8 de enero de 1775) nacido en Birmingham, Inglaterra fue un impresor, miembro de la Real Sociedad de Artes. Dirigió a su pupilo John Handy en el diseño de numerosas fuentes tipográficas. His businesses included japanning… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • John Baskerville — Portrait von John Baskerville Titelblatt, gedru …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Baskerville — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Baskerville. John Baskerville par James Millar, 1774. John Baskerville, né le 28 janvier  …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • BASKERVILLE (J.) — BASKERVILLE JOHN (1706 1775) Un des plus célèbres typographes anglais du XVIIIe siècle, John Baskerville ne s’adonna que tardivement à la typographie. Ni son éducation, ni ses débuts dans la vie active ne l’y prédisposaient. Après avoir fait… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Baskerville (surname) — Baskerville is a surname, and may refer to:* Albert Henry Baskerville * Howard Baskerville * John Baskerville * John David Baskerville * Lorrainne Sade Baskerville * William of Baskervilleee also* Baskerville typeface * The Hound of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Baskerville — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Howard Baskerville (1885–1909), Presbyterianer im Iran John Baskerville (1706–1775), englischer Schreiblehrer Paul Baskerville (* 1961), britischer Musikjournalist Ralph de Baskerville (um 1075–1118),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Baskerville (disambiguation) — Baskerville may refer to: * Ralph de Baskerville, son of Robert de Basqueville (Today Bacqueville en Caux, Seine Maritime, Normandy), who held Eardisley Castle; * Baskerville, a typeface; * John Baskerville, eighteenth century English printer and …   Wikipedia

  • Baskerville — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para el grupo musical, véase Baskerville (grupo musical). Ejemplo de tipografía Baskerville Baskerville es una tipografía con serif diseñada en 1757 por John Baskerville en Birmingham …   Wikipedia Español

  • Baskerville — typeface style, 1802 (the type was created in the 1750s), named for John Baskerville (1706 1775), British type founder and printer. The initial version were cut by John Handy under Baskerville s watchful eye. The result is the epitome of… …   Etymology dictionary

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