His businesses included japanning and paper mache, but he is best remembered as a printer. He printed works for Cambridge University in 1758 and although an atheist, printed a splendid folio Bible in 1763.
His work was criticised by jealous competitors and soon fell out of favour, but since the 1920s many new fonts have been released by Linotype, Monotype, and other typefoundries - revivals of his work and mostly called 'Baskerville'.
As an atheist, Baskerville was buried, at his own request, in unconsecrated ground in his own garden. When a canal was built through the land he was placed in storage in a warehouse for several years before being secretly deposited in the crypt of Christ Church, Birmingham. Later he was moved, with other bodies from the crypt, to consecrated catacombs at Warstone Lane Cemetery.