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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, 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

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