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Joseph Boruwlaski (1739-1837), Travelling performer and memoirist

Sitter in 2 portraits
Boruwlaski was born into impoverished lower gentry in Poland. At 3 feet 3 inches tall and styled as 'Count Boruwlaski', he was exhibited around the salons and courts of Europe. He moved to Britain in 1782 where, for a charge, he would 'receive company', holding a breakfast to which the public could come and be entertained with music and exaggerated tales of his adventures. He was briefly taken up by Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and George IV but high society tired of him and, after travelling the country, he retired to Durham.

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Joseph Boruwlaski

by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer
pen and ink and wash, 1830-1835
NPG 3097(8)