1 of 16 portraits of James Boswell
by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, 1785
30 in. x 25 in. (762 mm x 635 mm)
Purchased with help from the Art Fund, the Johnson Club and H.M. Government, 1965
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- James Boswell (1740-1795), Biographer of Dr Johnson. Sitter associated with 16 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), Painter and first President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 1413 portraits, Sitter associated with 38 portraits.
Related worksback to top
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 61
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 67
- Uglow, Jenny, Character Sketches: Dr Johnson, His Club and Other Friends, 1998, p. 51
Events of 1785back to top
Current affairsGeorge Prince of Wales secretly marries his mistress Maria Fitzherbert in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act of 1772.Prime Minister William Pitt introduces a bill proposing parliamentary reform and the abolition of 'rotten boroughs' but is defeated.
Art and scienceWilliam Cowper publishes his best -known poem The Task.James Boswell publishes The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, narrating his travels with the late writer Samuel Johnson. Physician and naturalist James Hutton presents his studies of local rocks to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, launching the era of scientific geology.
InternationalWarren Hastings resigns as Governor-General of Bengal and returns to England. His trial begins on charges of corruption in the administration of India. French sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon crosses the Atlantic to sculpt a statue of George Washington. British government establishes a permanent land force in the Eastern Caribbean, based in Barbados.
See this portrait
On display in Room 12 at the National Portrait Gallery