Bland, John (1702-1750) (DNB00)


BLAND, JOHN (1702–1750), writing-master, was born 17 Aug. 1702 in Crutched-friars, London, his father being a clerk in the Victualling Office, Tower Ilill (Massey, Origin and Progress of Letters, part ii. p. 25). About 1710 John Bland was put to Westminster School, where he stayed four years, and then, returning to the city, he became a pupil of a Mr. Snell, Foster Lane. About 1717 he took a clerkship in the Custom-house (his own Essay on Writing, 1730, preface), where he stayed nine years, and where he acquired his knowledge of ship-marks, invoices, bill-headings, applications, petitions, &c. which form the matter of his published copy-plates. In 1726 he became writing-master in Mr. William Watts's Academy in Little Tower Street, and thence, in 1730. he issued the 'Essay on Writing,' his preface being dated 13 Jan. 1729-30. About the same time Bland prepared five elaborately flourished pieces of penmanship for George Bickhams 'Universal Penman' (Massey. part ii. p. 27). In 1739, after thirteen years with Mr. Watts, he established himself in Birchin Lane as an accountant and a writing-master. In 1740 another writing-master, Joseph Champion, issued a work 'Penmanship,' &c., in which some specimens by Bland appeared. In 1744 Bland relinquished his office in Birchin Lane, and opened an academy in Bishopsgate Street, and he continued at the head of that till he died, 21 Jan. 1749-50, aged 47. He was buried in St. Martin Outwich Church, at the end of Threadneedle Street. Bland's 'Essay on Writing' was republished in 1803.

[Massey's Origin and Progress of Letters, part ii., article 'John Bland;' Preface to Bland's own Essay on Writing, 1730; Preface to Joseph Champion's Penmanship, 1740.]

J. H.