2 of 50 portraits of Samuel Johnson
reduced copy after Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, (circa 1769)
17 3/4 in. x 15 1/4 in. (451 mm x 387 mm)
Given by T. Humphry Ward, 1906
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Poet, critic and lexicographer. Sitter associated with 50 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.
This portraitback to top
From early childhood, Johnson suffered from poor eyesight, especially in his left eye, which interfered with his education. There were somewhat contradictory reports about his eyesight from his contemporaries. He appeared to have been near-sighted, yet he did not use eyeglasses. His eyesight became worse with age; still, his handwriting remained quite legible, perhaps out of habit of writing.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 290
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 340
Events of 1769back to top
Current affairsRadical John Wilkes is expelled from Parliament once again, on the grounds that he was an outlaw when he was voted in. He is re-elected by his Middlesex constituents, then expelled and re-elected twice more, until Parliament declares his opponent, Henry Luttrell, the winner.
First of 69 anonymous Letters of Junius appears in the Public Advertiser, exposing political corruption. The politician Sir Philip Francis is now believed to have been responsible.
Art and scienceJosiah Wedgwood opens his Etruria Works for the manufacture of pottery.
Inventor Richard Arkwright patents a spinning frame able to weave fabric mechanically.
Gordon's London Dry Gin is produced for the first time.
First Royal Academy exhibition is held.
Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage is first published.
InternationalCaptain Cook observes the transit of Venus in Tahiti while his passengers, Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, collect valuable specimens of Pacific flora. The expedition travels on to New Zealand where Cook begins charting the country's entire coastline.
Treaty of Madras ends the First Anglo-Mysore War but fails to settle dispute.
French inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot tests a steam wagon, probably the first working mechanical vehicle.