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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

John Baskerville (1706-1775), Printer and type-designer

Printer and type-designer; born at Upton, Worcestershire; set up as writing-master and later, in Birmingham, as japanner; about 1750, on the advice of his friend Shenstone, printed Virgil, first of his famous quarto editions of the classics and, as printer to Cambridge University, 1758-68, his celebrated English Bible, 1763; his type, purchased by Beaumarchais in 1779, presented to Cambridge University Press, 1952.
An account, based on personal knowledge, is given by Mark Noble:

'In person he was a shrivelled old coxcomb. His favourite dress was green, edged with narrow gold lace, a scarlet waistcoat, with a very broad gold lace; and a small round hat, likewise edged with gold lace'. [1]

Footnotesback to top

1) Biographical History of England ... a continuation of Granger's works, II, 1806, p 362.

Referencesback to top

Bennett 1939
W. Bennett, John Baskerville, 1939.

Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, Catalogue of Paintings, 1960.

Hansard 1825
T. C. Hansard, Typographia, 1825.

Straus & Dent 1907
R. Straus and R. K. Dent, John Baskerville, 1907.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.