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Samuel Johnson

(1709-1784), Poet, critic and lexicographer

Sitter associated with 50 portraits
The author of the prodigious Dictionary of the English Language (1755), Johnson gained further prestige through the publication of his new edition of Shakespeare (1765) and travel memoir A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland (1775). Ungainly and plagued with nervous tics, he was the victim of melancholia and could not bear solitude. Johnson had an immense circle of friends, and was one of the greatest conversationalists of all time. Reynolds founded the Literary Club with him in 1764 to 'give him unlimited opportunities for talking'. James Boswell's Life, along with other biographies documented his behaviour and mannerisms in such detail that they have informed the posthumous diagnosis of Tourette syndrome.

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Samuel Johnson, by Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG 1597

Samuel Johnson

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, 1756-1757
On display in Room 12 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 1597

Samuel Johnson, reduced copy after Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG 1445

Samuel Johnson

reduced copy after Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, (circa 1769)
NPG 1445

Samuel Johnson, by Edward Hodges Baily, after  Joseph Nollekens - NPG 996

Samuel Johnson

by Edward Hodges Baily, after Joseph Nollekens
marble bust, 1828 (1777)
On display in the Great Staircase Hall at Beningbrough Hall
NPG 996

Samuel Johnson, by James Barry - NPG 1185

Samuel Johnson

by James Barry
oil on canvas, circa 1778-1780
NPG 1185

Samuel Johnson, after John Opie - NPG 1302

Samuel Johnson

after John Opie
oil on canvas, (1783-1784)
NPG 1302

Samuel Johnson, by William Cumberland Cruikshank, and  James Hoskins - NPG 4685

Samuel Johnson

by William Cumberland Cruikshank, and James Hoskins
plaster cast of bust incorporating death-mask, 1784
NPG 4685

Samuel Johnson, by Domenico Brucciani, after  William Cumberland Cruikshank, and  James Hoskins - NPG 498a

Samuel Johnson

by Domenico Brucciani, after William Cumberland Cruikshank, and James Hoskins
plaster cast of bust, 1878 (1784)
NPG 498a

Samuel Johnson, by Domenico Brucciani, after  William Cumberland Cruikshank, and  James Hoskins - NPG 498b

Samuel Johnson

by Domenico Brucciani, after William Cumberland Cruikshank, and James Hoskins
plaster cast of bust, 1878 (1784)
NPG 498b

Samuel Johnson, by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, 1st Bt, after a painting by  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG 621

Samuel Johnson

by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, 1st Bt, after a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds
painted plaster figure, 1881
NPG 621

Samuel Johnson, by James Watson, published by  Robert Sayer, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D36536

Samuel Johnson

by James Watson, published by Robert Sayer, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
mezzotint, (1769)
NPG D36536

Samuel Johnson, by Samuel William Reynolds, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D3176

Samuel Johnson

by Samuel William Reynolds, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
mezzotint, (1769)
NPG D3176

Samuel Johnson, after Unknown artist - NPG D36532

Samuel Johnson

after Unknown artist
mezzotint printed in colours, late 18th century
NPG D36532

Samuel Johnson, after Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D14796

Samuel Johnson

after Sir Joshua Reynolds
mezzotint, (1772-1778)
NPG D14796

Samuel Johnson, by William Doughty, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D36534

Samuel Johnson

by William Doughty, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
mezzotint, published late 18th century (1772-1778)
NPG D36534

Samuel Johnson ('Old wisdom blinking at the stars'), by James Gillray, published by  W. Rennie - NPG D12300

Samuel Johnson ('Old wisdom blinking at the stars')

by James Gillray, published by W. Rennie
hand-coloured etching, published 10 March 1782
NPG D12300

Samuel Johnson, by Thomas Trotter, published by  George Kearsley - NPG D13814

Samuel Johnson

by Thomas Trotter, published by George Kearsley
etching, published 1782
NPG D13814

Samuel Johnson, by Thomas Trotter, published by  George Kearsley - NPG D16750

Samuel Johnson

by Thomas Trotter, published by George Kearsley
etching, published 1 February 1782
NPG D16750

Samuel Johnson ('Apollo and the muses, inflicting penance on Dr Pomposo, round Parnassus'), by James Gillray, published by  William Holland - NPG D12342

Samuel Johnson ('Apollo and the muses, inflicting penance on Dr Pomposo, round Parnassus')

by James Gillray, published by William Holland
hand-coloured etching, published 29 July 1783
NPG D12342

Dr Johnson in his Travelling Dress as described in Boswell's Tour (Samuel Johnson), by Thomas Trotter, published by  George Kearsley - NPG D34874

Dr Johnson in his Travelling Dress as described in Boswell's Tour (Samuel Johnson)

by Thomas Trotter, published by George Kearsley
line engraving, published 18 January 1786
NPG D34874

'The biographers', by James Sayers, published by  Thomas Cornell - NPG D12243

'The biographers'

by James Sayers, published by Thomas Cornell
etching, published June 1786
NPG D12243

Samuel Johnson, after Thomas Trotter - NPG D20327

Samuel Johnson

after Thomas Trotter
line engraving, published 1786
NPG D20327

Samuel Johnson, by John Hall, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D11044

Samuel Johnson

by John Hall, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
line engraving, published 1787 (circa 1786)
NPG D11044

'Frontispiece for the 2nd edition of Dr Johnson's letters', by James Sayers, published by  Thomas Cornell - NPG D9898

'Frontispiece for the 2nd edition of Dr Johnson's letters'

by James Sayers, published by Thomas Cornell
etching, published 7 April 1788
NPG D9898

Samuel Johnson, by James Heath, published by  Charles Dilly, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D34873

Samuel Johnson

by James Heath, published by Charles Dilly, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
stipple engraving, published 10 April 1791 (1756-1757)
NPG D34873

Samuel Johnson, by and published by Charles Townley, after  John Opie - NPG D36531

Samuel Johnson

by and published by Charles Townley, after John Opie
mezzotint, published 20 February 1792 (1783-1784)
NPG D36531

Samuel Johnson, by William Doughty, published by  John Jones, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D36533

Samuel Johnson

by William Doughty, published by John Jones, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
mezzotint, published 24 June 1793 (1772-1778)
NPG D36533

Samuel Johnson, by Unknown artist - NPG D7040

Samuel Johnson

by Unknown artist
wax impression of intaglio, (19th century)
NPG D7040

Samuel Johnson, by James Neagle, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D8977

Samuel Johnson

by James Neagle, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
line engraving, published 1806
NPG D8977

Samuel Johnson, by James Heath, published by  Longman & Co, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D14095

Samuel Johnson

by James Heath, published by Longman & Co, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
line engraving, published 1 August 1806 (1772-1778)
NPG D14095

Samuel Johnson, by James Neagle, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D8978

Samuel Johnson

by James Neagle, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
line engraving, published 1810
NPG D8978

Samuel Johnson, by Ignace Joseph de Claussen, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D16487

Samuel Johnson

by Ignace Joseph de Claussen, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
etching, early 19th century
NPG D16487

Samuel Johnson, by William Thomas Fry, published by and after  Abraham Wivell, after  Joseph Nollekens - NPG D36539

Samuel Johnson

by William Thomas Fry, published by and after Abraham Wivell, after Joseph Nollekens
stipple engraving, published 26 June 1815 (1777)
NPG D36539

Samuel Johnson, by Mary Dawson Turner (née Palgrave), after  Ozias Humphry, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D3158

Samuel Johnson

by Mary Dawson Turner (née Palgrave), after Ozias Humphry, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
etching, circa 1825 (1769)
NPG D3158

Samuel Johnson, by Samuel William Reynolds, published by  Hodgson, Boys & Graves, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D36535

Samuel Johnson

by Samuel William Reynolds, published by Hodgson, Boys & Graves, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
mezzotint, published 1835 (1772-1778)
NPG D36535

'A literary party at Sir Joshua Reynolds's', by D. George Thompson, published by  Owen Bailey, after  James William Edmund Doyle - NPG D14518

'A literary party at Sir Joshua Reynolds's'

by D. George Thompson, published by Owen Bailey, after James William Edmund Doyle
stipple and line engraving, published 1 October 1851
NPG D14518

Samuel Johnson, by George Zobel, published by  Paul and Dominic Colnaghi & Co, published by  Robert Roe, possibly after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D36538

Samuel Johnson

by George Zobel, published by Paul and Dominic Colnaghi & Co, published by Robert Roe, possibly after Sir Joshua Reynolds
mezzotint, published 2 January 1854
NPG D36538

John Bacon the Elder; Samuel Johnson (on reverse), by Joseph Shepherd Wyon, and after  John Bacon the Elder - NPG D2907

John Bacon the Elder; Samuel Johnson (on reverse)

by Joseph Shepherd Wyon, and after John Bacon the Elder
bronze medal, 1864
NPG D2907

Unknown man, formerly known as Samuel Johnson, published by C. Eskell van Noorden - NPG D36537

Unknown man, formerly known as Samuel Johnson

published by C. Eskell van Noorden
photograph, before 1900
NPG D36537

Web image not currently available

Samuel Johnson

by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, 1st Bt
clay bust, 1881
NPG 621a

Web image not currently available

Samuel Johnson

by William Doughty, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
mezzotint, published 1779 (1772-1778)
NPG D19511

Web image not currently available

Samuel Johnson

by James Heath, published by Harrison & Co, after John Opie
line engraving, published 14 March 1786
NPG D19057

Web image not currently available

'Frontispiece for the 2nd edition of Dr Johnson's letters'

by James Sayers, published by Thomas Cornell
etching, published 7 April 1788
NPG D15034

Web image not currently available

Samuel Johnson

by Davenport, after John Opie
line engraving, (circa 1800)
NPG D20411

Web image not currently available

Samuel Johnson

by William Holl Sr, published by Longman & Co, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
stipple engraving, published 1814
NPG D19318

Web image not currently available

Samuel Johnson

by William Camden Edwards, published by W. Walker, after George Clint, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
line engraving, published 1 May 1823
NPG D14528

Web image not currently available

Samuel Johnson

after Sir Joshua Reynolds
stipple engraving, circa 1824 (1762?-1769)
NPG D18941

Web image not currently available

Samuel Johnson

by Jacques G. Sturm, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
line engraving, circa 1825-1844
NPG D13848

Web image not currently available

Samuel Johnson ('Dr Johnson awaiting an audience of Lord Chesterfield')

by Lumb Stocks, published by Art Union of London, after Edward Matthew Ward
engraving, published 1876
NPG D36541

Web image not currently available

Samuel Johnson

by William Chambers Lefroy
pencil, 26 January 1883
NPG D36540

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