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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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1597

Samuel Johnson

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

1445

Samuel Johnson

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

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

1185

Samuel Johnson

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

1302

Samuel Johnson

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

4685

Samuel Johnson

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

498a

Samuel Johnson

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

498b

Samuel Johnson

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

621

Samuel Johnson

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

D36536

Samuel Johnson

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

D3176

Samuel Johnson

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

D36532

Samuel Johnson

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

D14796

Samuel Johnson

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

D36534

Samuel Johnson

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

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

D13814

Samuel Johnson

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

D16750

Samuel Johnson

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

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

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