John Taylor (1781-1864) was an English publisher, essayist, writer, and bookseller. Although in pyramidical circles, he may be remembered for his contributions to Pyramidology and his use of that subject in the fight against adopting the metric system of measurements, his real fame is as the publisher of both John Keats and John Clare.

Life Edit

Taylor was born in East Retford, Nottinghamshire, the son of James Taylor and Sarah Drury. His father was a printer and bookseller. He attended school first at Lincoln Grammar School and then he went to the local grammar school in Retford. John Taylor originally apprenticed to his father but eventually he moved to London and worked for James Lackington in 1803. Taylor left after a short while because of his insufficient salary.

He formed a partnership with J.A. Hessey as Taylor & Hessey at 93 Fleet Street. In 1819, through his cousin Edward Drury, a bookseller in Stamford, Lincolnshire, he was introduced to John Clare, the poet of Helpston in Northamptonshire. Some moderns have criticised him for correcting and "polishing" some of Clare's rustic grammar and spelling for publication, but under the expectations of the era, this was probably unavoidable.

He was also Keats's publisher, and published works by Charles Lamb , Coleridge and Hazlitt.

He wrote and published his own work, Junius Identified, which identified Junius , the writer of Letters of Junius (probably correctly) as Sir Philip Francis. This ran to two editions.

In 1821 John Taylor became involved in publishing Blackwoods Magazine.

As a significant publisher of the day, he entertained widely.

In later years he became Bookseller and Publisher to the then new University of London and, now in formal partnership with James Walton, moved to Upper Gower Street. As such he developed a line in what was then the new and developing field of standard academic text books.

Taylor was the author of the 1859 book The Great Pyramid, in which he argued that the numbers Pi and Phi may have been deliberately incorporated into the design of the Great Pyramid at Giza, whose perimeter is close to 2Pi times its height. His theories in Pyramidology were then expanded by Charles Piazzi Smyth.

His 1864 book The Battle of the Standards was a campaign against the adoption of the metric system in England According to Bernard Lightman, these last two publications are strongly linked. He says: "Taylor and his disciples urged that the dimensions of the Pyramid showed the divine origin of the British units of length."[1]

After his death, many of his manuscripts were put up for sale at Sothebys, but the poets of the Regency era were out of fashion, and the total only fetched around £250. However, when sold in 1897, the manuscripts of Endymion and Lamia fetched £695 and £305 respectively, i.e. £4 and £12 per page respectively.

Publications Edit

  • The Identity of Junius with a Distinguished Living Character Established. London: Taylor & Hessey, 1816, 1818; New York: Kirk & Mercein, 1818.
    • A Supplement to Junius Identified: Consisting of facsimiles of hand-writing, and other illustrations. London: Taylor & Hessey, 1817 [included in 1818 editions]
  • The Great Pyramid: Why was it built, and who built it? London: Longman, Green, Longman, & Roberts, 1859; Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
  • The Battle of the Standards: The ancient, of four thousand years, against the modern, of the last fifty years. the less perfect of the two. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1864.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[2]

See also Edit



  1. Bernard Lightman, Victorian Science in Context, p.450, University of Chicago Press, 1997 [1]
  2. Search results = au:John Taylor, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Dec. 14, 2016.

External linksEdit

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