Samuel Johnson and Biography

Past beyond the gallery archive
1 February 2010 - 1 February 2011

Beningbrough Hall

Free

  • Partnership exhibition



Samuel Johnson, by James Barry, circa 1778-1780 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Samuel Johnson
by James Barry
circa 1778-1780
NPG 1185

Dr Samuel Johnson is recognised today as one of the most important figures of the eighteenth century. He achieved fame for his unprecedented Dictionary of the English Language which was first published in 1755. To this day, his name remains well-known due to the continuing popularity of his anecdotes, the intellectual range of his writing and the numerous biographies written about him.

This display will explore Johnson’s life through images of the writer himself and members of his circle, including the artist Sir Joshua Reynolds, the actor David Garrick and the writer James Boswell. It focuses particularly on the way in which Johnson’s life was recorded in numerous biographies after his death in 1784, many of which were written by his friends and acquaintances.

Beningbrough Hall