John Bell (publisher)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people with the same name, see John Bell (disambiguation).
John Bell
John-bell-publisher.jpg
Born 1745
Died 1831
Fulham
Occupation Publisher
Language English
Nationality English

John Bell (1745–1831) was an English publisher. Originally a bookseller and printer, he also innovated in typography, being responsible for an influential font that omitted the long s.[1]

Life[edit]

From 1769, Bell owned a bookshop in the Strand, London, the "British Library".[1] His 109-volume, literature-for-the-masses Poets of Great Britain Complete from Chaucer to Churchill, which rivalled Samuel Johnson's Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets (1781), was published from 1777 to 1783. Each volume cost just six shillings, much less than what was commonly charged.[2]

Bell's joint-stock organisation of his publishing company defied "the trade" — forty dominant publishing companies — to establish a monopoly on top publications. In addition to the extensive Poets of Great Britain, he published book sets on Shakespeare and The British Theatre. The drawings and illustrations in these works influenced later publishers.[2][2] He also ran a circulating library.[3][4]

Bell died in Fulham in 1831, leaving a reputation as a "mischievous spirit, the very Puck of booksellers." He was the uncle of the engraver Edward Bell.[2]

Periodicals[edit]

Bell was one of the founders of the Morning Post, a London daily newspaper, in 1772. In 1787 he launched The World, with Edward Topham. Later he set up the Sunday newspaper Bell's Weekly Messenger, La Belle Assemblée, and other periodicals.[1]

Works[edit]

British Theatre[edit]

Bell's British Theatre was sold in sets 140 plays in 21 volumes, each with a unique choice of plays.[5] For example, one set is arranged thus:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Barker, Hannah. "Bell, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2014.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c d Harrison 1885.
  3. ^ John Trusler (1790), London Adviser and Guide (2nd ed.), Printed for the author at the Literary-Press, OCLC 15076772 
  4. ^ Paul Kaufman (1967). "The Community Library: A Chapter in English Social History". Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 57. JSTOR 1006043. 
  5. ^ "Description", British theatre (1791), record at the Internet Archive. See for example two title pages for "Volume 7", one featuring "Maid of the Mill", the other featuring "Love Makes a Man"
  6. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 2, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mrs Mattocks, Mrs Powell, Mrs Angelo, Mr Macklin
  7. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 3, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Miss Brunton, Mr Holman, Mr Kemble, Mrs Siddons, Mrs Merry
  8. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 4, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mr Lee-Lewis, Mr Bernard, Mrs Siddons, Mr Fawcet
  9. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 5, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mrs Siddons (as Cleone), Mrs Siddons (as Isabella), Mrs Rock, Mrs Esten
  10. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 6, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mr Farren, Mr Wroughton, Mrs Siddons, Mrs Farren, Mr Bensley
  11. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 7, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mr Quick, Mrs Ann Brunton Merry, Mrs Hunter, Mrs Heard
  12. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 8, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mr Blanchard, Mr Lewis, Mr Farren, Mrs Brooks
  13. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 9, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mr Holman, Mr Martyr, Mr Quick, Mr Kemble
  14. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 10, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Barrymore and Warthen, Mr Hull, Mrs Lee Lewis, Alexander Pope
  15. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 11, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mrs Crouch, Mr Palmer, Mr Yates, Mrs Mountain
  16. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 12, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mrs Wells, Mrs Mattocks, Mrs Webb, Mr Harley
  17. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 13, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mrs Billington, Mrs Jordan, Mr Palmer, Mrs Martyr
  18. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 14, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations:Mr Moody, Mr Holman , Mr Palmer, Mr King
  19. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 15, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mrs Esten, Mrs Inchbald, Mr Kemble, Mr Palmer
  20. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 16, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mr Munden, Mrs Ward, Mrs Goodall, Mrs Siddons
  21. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 17, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mr Harley, Mrs Abington, Miss Barclay, Mrs Whitelock
  22. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 18, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mr Dimond, Mr Wilson, Miss Chapman, Mr Middleton
  23. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 19, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mr Pope, Mrs Kemble, Mr Johnstone, Mr Kemble
  24. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 20, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mr Baddeley, Mr Rock, Mr Parsons, Mr Bensley
  25. ^ Bell, John, 1745–1831, British theatre (1791), Volume 21, Publisher: J. Bell Year, 1791. Illustrations: Mr Parsons, Mr Fawcet, Mr Dimond, Mrs Jordan
Attribution

 Harrison, Robert (1885). "Bell, John (1745-1831)". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography 4. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Portraits of Actors, 1720–1920 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Ian Maxted (2007), "John Bell", The London Book Trades 1775–1800: a preliminary checklist of members, Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History