1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Boydell, John

BOYDELL, JOHN (1719–1804), English alderman and publisher, was born at Dorrington, and at the age of twenty-one came to London and was apprenticed for seven years to an engraver. In 1746 he published a volume of views in England and Wales, and started in business as a print-seller. By his good taste and liberality he managed to secure the services of the best artists, and his engravings were executed with such skill that his business became extensive and lucrative. He succeeded in his plan of a Shakespeare gallery, and obtained the assistance of the most eminent painters of the day, whose contributions were exhibited publicly for many years. The engravings from these paintings form a splendid companion volume to his large illustrated edition of Shakespeare’s works. Towards the close of his life Boydell sustained severe losses through the French Revolution, and was compelled to dispose of his Shakespeare gallery by lottery. Boydell had previously become an alderman, and rose to be lord mayor of London.