Discover more from Ebla to E-Books: The Preservation and Annihilation of Memory
Big Nose; Bigger Book
Andrew Bell- Co-founder of the 𝑬𝒏𝒄𝒚𝒄𝒍𝒐𝒑𝒆𝒅𝒊𝒂 𝑩𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒏𝒊𝒄𝒂
First edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
Andrew Bell was a Scottish engraver. He produced all the copperplate engravings for the first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.1 Colin Macfarquhar was the printer.
On December 10, 1768, the Caledonian Mercury and the Edinburgh Evening Courant carried an advertisement announcing that “This day is published” the edition’s first part; it further pledged that the encyclopædia would provide “ACCURATE DEFINITIONS and EXPLANATIONS, of all the Terms as they occur in the Order of the Alphabet.” The work was issued in parts from December 1768 to 1771 with double-columned pages. The parts were bound in three stout quarto volumes of some 2,500 pages, with 160 copperplate engravings by Bell, and dated 1771.
Andrew Bell was 4’9” with a Nose Like a Baked Potato
Writing with appreciation of Bell’s contributions to the first Encyclopedia Britannica, Simon Garfield noted that Bell had a nose like a baked potato.2
He seems to have been something of a character and was very short with bandy legs and a huge nose. Apparently, he rode the tallest horse he could find, using a ladder to mount and dismount.3
Gunn, Ann. ‘Five Hundred and Forty-Two Copperplates’: Andrew Bell’s Illustrations for the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1771–97.” Journal of the Scottish Society for Art History. V. 22, (2017–2018): 7-14.
Garfield, Simon (2022). All the Knowledge in the World: The Extraordinary History of the Encyclopedia. HarperCollins.
Kogan, Herman. 1958. The Great EB: The Story of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago 1958, p.8.