Industry and Genius: John Baskerville & the beauty of letters

Explore the life and work of John Baskerville – a Birmingham based printer, stone cutter, letter founder, writing master and entrepreneur.

John Baskerville [1706–75] was an inventor, entrepreneur and artist with a world-wide reputation who made eighteenth-century Birmingham a city without typographic equal.

Baskerville not only designed a typeface, which has become one of the world’s most ubiquitous and historically important founts, he also experimented with casting type, improved the printing-press, developed a new kind of paper and refined the quality of printing inks. Yet despite his importance many aspects of his work remain unexplored.

In this film Dr Caroline Archer and Dr Malcolm Dick assesses his contribution to printing, the arts, technological change and the Enlightenment.

KEYWORDS: John Baskerville, Printing, Typography, Books, Birmingham, Caroline Archer, Enlightenment

In Printing, Lunar Society, Baskerville, Enlightenment, BMAG,


Dr Caroline Archer, Dr Malcom Dick, Martin Killeen

Thanks to:

Winterbourne House & Garden, Bantock House Museum, Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery, Cadbury Research Library, Birmingham Central Library, Film Birmingham