Inhuming and Exhuming: John Baskerville’s Death, Burial and Post-Mortem Life

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    Baskerville, with its well-considered design and elegant proportions is one of the world’s most widely used and influential typefaces. It was created by John Baskerville (1707–75) of Birmingham, an eighteenth-century typographer, printer and industrialist; an Enlightenment figure with a worldwide reputation who changed the course of type design. Whilst printing historians have lauded Baskerville for his contributions to the trade, he is more widely remembered for his unusual will, unconventional burial, and extraordinary post-mortem life. It is a story which has been retold over the course of 250 years by the local, national, and international press and which has contributed to the making of Baskerville’s erroneous reputation as an atheist. This article surveys the evidence of Baskerville death and burial and reappraises the facts surrounding his post-mortem activities in order to correct the misapprehensions which surround Baskerville’s beliefs and to reassess him as a deist rather than atheist.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMidland History
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 21 Sept 2022


    • Atheist
    • Baskerville
    • Birmingham
    • burial
    • death
    • deist
    • interment
    • printer: unconsecrated ground


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