(1689-1761) was born in Derbyshire, the son of a joiner. He received little formal education and in 1706 was apprenticed to a printer in London. Thirteen years later he set himself up as a stationer and printer and became of the leading figures in the trade. He printed political material, newspapers and literature. He began writing
as a result of a suggestion from friends that he should compile a book of model letters for use by unskilled writers.
was a great success and went on to write
, one of the masterpieces of European literature.