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


Samuel Johnson

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


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

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


Samuel Johnson

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


Samuel Johnson

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


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


Samuel Johnson

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


Samuel Johnson

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


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


Samuel Johnson

by William Chambers Lefroy
pencil, 26 January 1883
NPG D36540