2018 Talks

John Baskerville: The Stop-Start Career of an 18th Century IT Entrepreneur

Image courtesy Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham


Tuesday, 13 March 2018


12.30 - 13.30


Cadbury Research Library, Seminar Room, Muirhead Tower (R21 on campus map)


Free, booking recommended.

Printing straddles both art and science. One of its greatest exponents was Birmingham’s John Baskerville (1707–75), an eighteenth-century printer and industrialist with a worldwide reputation. Baskerville was the ‘complete printer’ – he applied his scientific knowledge of materials and metal to enable the optimum execution of the artistic aspects of printing. His typographic experiments, which included casting and setting type, construction of the press, developing a new kind of paper and refining the quality of inks, put him ahead of his time, had an international impact and did much to enhance the printing and publishing industries of his day. The books he created — from an edition of Virgil’s poetry in 1757 to his final publication, William Hunter’s The anatomy of the human gravid uterus of 1774 — are recognised as masterpieces of the art and technology of book production.

This event invites visitors to have a hands-on experience of Baskerville’s books in the Cadbury Research Library. Be guided through the collection with expert commentary from researchers and archivists with specialist knowledge of printing in general and Baskerville in particular.

Presented by the School of History and Cultures in partnership with Cadbury Research Library.