Inhuming and Exhuming: John Baskerville's Death, Burial and Postmortem Life

Archer-Parre, Caroline (2022) Inhuming and Exhuming: John Baskerville's Death, Burial and Postmortem Life. Midland History, 47 (3). ISSN 1756-381X

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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.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
21 July 2022Accepted
21 September 2022Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: Atheist, Baskerville, Birmingham, burial, death, deist, interment, printer: unconsecrated ground
Subjects: CAH20 - historical, philosophical and religious studies > CAH20-01 - history and archaeology > CAH20-01-01 - history
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-03 - design studies
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts > School of Visual Communication
Depositing User: Caroline Archer
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2022 08:11
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2022 08:11

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