Ayres, John

, an eminent English penman of the seventeenth century. It is difficult to fix the time and place of his birth we find him, early in life, in a menial capacity with sir William Ashurst, who was lord mayor in 1694, to whom, and in which year, he dedicated his “Arithmetic made easy,” a book which was well received by the public, and has passed through several editions the twelfth was printed in 1714, with an addition in book-keeping by Charles Snell. In 1695, he published his “Tutor to Penmanship,” engraved by John Sturt, in oblong folio. It is dedicated to king William III. and though a very pompous book, is valuable on many accounts; the writing being | plain and practical, and much more useful than his “A-la-­mode Secretary,” another writing-book he published from the hand of the same engraver. In 1700 he published his “Paul’s school round hand.” It is no more than a set of copies, ornamented but is clear and bold, and was engraved by Sturt. He lived then at the Hand and Pen in St. Paul’s Church-yard, and is said to have gained 800l. per annum by teaching and the sale of his works. We have another of his performances under the title of the “Penman’s Daily Practice,” which he calls a cyphering book it contains examples of all the hands now in use, in thirtyfour plates done by the same engraver, but has no date. He died about 1705, of an apoplexy. 1


Massey’s Origin and Progress of Letters, part II. p. 12.