Stonecutting Lead to Success for John Baskerville Essays

Stonecutting Lead to Success for John Baskerville Essays

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John Baskerville, an English businessman, was born in Wolverley, Worcestershire on January 28, 1706. When he was growing up, he had admired the concept of letters being created. With his passion for letters, in 1723, he became a skilled stonecutter for tombstones, and a writing teacher. By 1726, he moved to Birmingham, England, and became a master writing teacher. In 1737, he opened a school in the Bull Ring, Birmingham. Baskerville was brilliant in picking the Bull Ring as the location because it is Birmingham’s historic market centre, which brought its reputation as “The City of a Thousand Trades.” This helped him continue teaching bookkeeping and continue his work as a stonecutter, and later lead to his success.
Even though his desire to continue working with his passion on lettering, he also had a desire to obtain money. By doing so, he set himself on the path of learning the fascinating techniques of japanned ware. Japanned ware was an early form of coating or decorating metallic or hard objects with enamel. Around 1740, Baskerville sets up his japanning business on Moor Street, Bull Ring. He hand painted fruits and flowers on the objects (which included frames, clock cases, tea trays, candlesticks, and boxes), then he used a glassy substance (usually varnish) to coat the objects with finishing touches, usually for ornament and as a protective coating.
Due to his successful manufacturing of japanned ware, he made a great fortune; it offered a nice push towards his first passion of lettering. In 1751, Baskerville was known “…an innovator who broke the prevailing rules of design and printing in the books he produced at his press in Birmingham, England.” In his involvement with the bookmaking process, he took the opportunity...

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... edition Vergil, in 1757. The book made an extraordinary impact due to its proportionate structure and fine print, in 1758 Baskerville’s printer was appointed to the Cambridge University Press. This helped contribute to a huge success in one of his 56 books published, a folio edition of the Bible, in 1763. However, in January 8, 1775, Baskerville died in his home, and upon his request, he was buried in a mausoleum, located in his own garden.

Works Cited

Benton, Josiah H. John Baskerville (New York: Priv. print, 1914) 1-63
Bullring Birmingham “Official, Bullring History Guide,” Bullring Birmingham: About the
Centre, accessed March 19, 2014.
Meggs, Phillip. “An Epoch of Typographic Genius” History of Graphic Design, Fifth
Edition. (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2012), 127-130

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