John Baskerville (1706-1775) was an English businessman, writer and stonecutter best remembered as a printer and the founder of the typeface 'Baskerville'. He was a member of the Royal Society of Arts and through this he was able to meet many people who could help him make his work well know. He printed works for the University of Cambridge in 1758 and despite being an atheist he printed the Folio Bible in 1763 which became one of his most famous works. His typefaces were greatly admired by many and in particular Benjamin Franklin who took many of his designs to the US where they were adopted for most of the federal government publishing. Despite being a typographical genius Baskerville was criticised a large amount for his work, probably by jealous competitors; but this meant that his success did not last long. It was not until 1920 when the Baskerville typeface was revived and released in Linotype and Monotype. Baskerville had many followers of great success, eg. Bodoni. Bodoni copied Baskervilles increased stroke contrast and more vertical, slightly condensed upper case yet make his work slightly more extreme.
I have always thought of Baskerville as an understated and very elegant typeface and it has been my favourite typeface for a long time. I think it has so many uses and although it is sometimes thought of as a boring typeface used for official documents and work related subjects, it is definitely one of the most beautiful and most concisely constructed letter forms that should really gain more appreciation.