In a great measure, this work explained and taught Freemasonry to Masons around the world. So popular was Preston's "Illustrations of Masonry" (originally published in 1772) that the author saw it published in twelve editions during his lifetime, as well as being translated into several languages. This is one of the true Masonic bestselling classics.
About the Author
William Preston (1742–1818) was a Scottish author, editor and lecturer, born in Edinburgh. After attending school and college he became secretary to the linguist Thomas Ruddiman, who became his guardian on the death of his father. On the death of Thomas, Preston became a printer for Walter Ruddiman, Thomas' brother. In 1760 he moved to London and started a distinguished career with the printer William Strahan. He became a Freemason, instituting a system of lectures of instruction. It was under Preston that the Lodge of Antiquity seceded from the Moderns Grand Lodge to become "The Grand Lodge of All England South of the River Trent" for ten years. He died on 1 April 1818, after a long illness, and was buried in St Paul's Cathedral.