Bulmer, William (DNB00)

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BULMER, WILLIAM (1757–1830), typographer, was a native of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he was apprenticed to Mr. Thompson of the Burnt House Entry, St. Nicholas Churchyard. During his apprenticeship he formed a cordial friendship, which lasted through life, with Thomas Bewick, the celebrated wood-engraver. On his coming to London his services were engaged by Mr. John Bell, who was then publishing the beautiful miniature editions of the ‘Poets’ and ‘Shakespeare,’ About 1787 he became acquainted with George Nicol, the bookseller, who was then considering the best method of completing the magnificent edition of Shakespeare which he had suggested to Messrs. Boydell, ornamented with designs by the first artists of this country. Premises were then engaged in Cleveland Row, St. James’s, and the ‘Shakespeare Press’ was founded under the firm of 'W. Bulmer & Co.’ The publication of the ‘Shakespeare' (9 vols. 1791-1806, folio) established Bulmer’s fame as the first practical printer of the day, Next to it the edition of ‘The Poetical Works of Milton’ (3 vols, 1793-7, folio) is the finest production of his press. A curious and copious list of the works printed by him is given in Dibdin‘s ‘Bibliographical Decameron,’ ii. 384-95. Bulmer retired from business in 1819, and died in his house at Clapham Rise on 9 Sept. 1830. His portrait has been engraved.

[Gent. Mag, c. (ii.), 305; Hansard’s Typographia (1825), 294, 315; Sykes's Local Records (1833), ii. 281; Nichols’s Illustr. of Lit. viii, 465, 503, 525; Timperley's Encyclopædia of Literary and Typographical Anecdote (1842), 911; Evans’s Cat. of Engraved Portraits, 13354, 133553.]

T. C.