William Caxton, first English printer, 15th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Conjectural portrait bust of William Caxton (c 1422-1491), the first English printer, who produced the first book to be printed in English. Caxton was apprenticed to a London mercer and after his master's death travelled to Bruges to the court of the Duke of Burgundy. In France he learned printing, producing his book 'Recuyell of the Histories of Troy'. He returned to England in 1476, establishing a pres at Westminster, where from 1477-1491 he produced nearly 80 separate books, many of them translations by himself from French romances.