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John Baskerville

English writing master, stonecutter, letter designer, typefounder and printer. Although in his lifetime he was underappreciated compared with his close contemporary William Caslon, he is now recognized as the other half of the duo that transformed English printing and type founding.

After first working as an accomplished writing master and headstone engraver in Birmingham, he found business success japanning (coating with black varnish) trays and snuff-boxes. With capital from this, in 1750 he set up a printing business, hiring John Handy as punchcutter.

His quest for perfection meant his first complete book took until 1757 to produce, during which time he made major innovations in press construction (making a flatter, sturdier bed), printing ink (blacker, more even, and quicker-drying), papermaking (wove instead of laid), and of course letter design (which Handy cut to Baskerville’s designs). The result was a brilliant series of original typefaces and splendid books appearing from 1754 to 1775.

Baskerville lost a great deal of money in his printing ventures, and at one point asked for a government subsidy while he was printing his masterpiece, a Bible for the University of Cambridge.

The perfection of his work seems to have unsettled his compatriot printers, and some claimed his printing damaged the eyes! Abroad, however, he was much admired, notably by Fournier, Bodoni (who intended at one point to come to England to work under him), and Benjamin Franklin.

The modern revival of Baskerville’s designs began in the 1920s, thanks to the work of Bruce Rogers, and soon the major foundries all had their own Baskervilles.

11 font families by John Baskerville

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12 font styles from $29.00
Queen Elizabeth’s proxy waved off Mick Jagger.
Monotype Baskerville™ Monotype Baskerville™

Albums

4 font styles from $29.00
Putin backs away from Iraq zeal; Bush, vexed, jogs.

Albums

9 font styles from $26.00
Lawbooks forgave John Quincy Adams, sixth Prez.
Baskerville SB™ Baskerville SB™
Baskerville SB™ Baskerville SB™
Baskerville SB™ Baskerville SB™

Albums

7 font styles from $24.80
Six big juicy steaks sizzled in a pan as five workmen left the quarry.

Albums

7 font styles from $24.80
Sympathizing would fix Quaker objectives.

Albums

1 font style from $26.00
Forsaking monastic tradition, twelve jovial friars gave up their vocation for a questionable existence on the flying trapeze.
Baskerville Old Face SB™ Baskerville Old Face SB™

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1 font style from $26.00
About sixty codfish eggs will make a quarter pound of very fizzy jelly.
Baskerville Old Face SH Baskerville Old Face SH

Albums

5 font styles from $26.00
Suez sailor vomits jauntily abaft while waxing parquet decks.
Baskerville No. 1 SB™ Baskerville No. 1 SB™
Baskerville No. 1 SB™ Baskerville No. 1 SB™
Baskerville No. 1 SB™ Baskerville No. 1 SB™

Albums

5 font styles from $26.00
Back in June we delivered oxygen equipment of the same size.
Baskerville No. 1 SH™ Baskerville No. 1 SH™
Baskerville No. 1 SH™ Baskerville No. 1 SH™
Baskerville No. 1 SH™ Baskerville No. 1 SH™

Albums

28 font styles from $29.00
The exodus of jazzy pigeons is craved by squeamish walkers.
ITC New Baskerville® ITC New Baskerville®
ITC New Baskerville® ITC New Baskerville®
ITC New Baskerville® ITC New Baskerville®

Albums

8 font styles from $29.00
Jay visited back home and gazed upon a brown fox and quail.
Baskerville Baskerville