"Perhaps it was because they were self-taught that such men seemed to think that anything they set their heart on was achievable. Baskerville had worked for years, challenging a notoriously conservative craft, before he printed his ground-breaking Virgil of 1757. He not only designed new typefaces but cast the type and set it and improved printing-press design, paper-making and ink-making. Many of his experiments had the lateral-thinking quality that marked the Lunar circle - an ad hoc, quick readiness to seize the potential of things near to hand, to test the properties of everything they stumbled across, whether it be rocks, metals, acids or tools. Baskerville's lustrous, oily, near-purple ink gained its unique colour from being mixed with 'fine-black', soot collected from the glass-pinchers' and solderers' lamps; his paper's prized glaze came from 'hot-pressing', a mysterious process probably based on a technique from his japanning work."
The Lunar Men Jenny Uglow