by James Heath, published by Charles Dilly, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
stipple engraving, published 10 April 1791 (1756-1757)
11 1/8 in. x 8 5/8 in. (283 mm x 218 mm) paper size
Given by the daughter of compiler William Fleming MD, Mary Elizabeth Stopford (née Fleming), 1931
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Sitterback to top
- Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Poet, critic and lexicographer. Sitter associated with 50 portraits.
Artistsback to top
- Charles Dilly (1739-1807), Bookseller. Artist associated with 9 portraits.
- James Heath (1757-1834), Engraver. Artist associated with 79 portraits, Sitter associated with 8 portraits.
- 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
This engraving was created in 1791 for the frontispiece of James Boswell's Life of Johnson. It is based on the famous portrait painted by Sir Joshua reynolds in 1756 just after the publication of Johnson's Dictionary. Johnson requested that some alterations should be made to the original plate of the engraving so that he appeared older and wiser than in the earlier painting.
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- The Life and Lives of Dr Johnson (18 July 2009 - 14 December 2009)
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1791back to top
Current affairsThomas Paine publishes his inflammatory and widely read Rights of Man in response to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France of the previous year. The work advocates radical revolution and prompts a trial for seditious libel that takes place in his absence.
The Catholic Relief Act is passed, repealing the most severe penal laws.
Art and scienceAstronomer William Herschel discovers Uranus.
Robert Burns publishes Tam O'Shanter, combining the Scottish vernacular with the formal traditions of classical English poetry and exploring radical ideas of freedom.
The Observer newspaper is founded.
The Ordnance Survey is set up to prepare detailed maps of the country.
InternationalMozart composes The Magic Flute.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man establishes liberal freedoms in France
The French Constitution is passed by the National Assembly.
Louis XVI flees Paris with his family but is captured at Varennes.
William Pitt declares Britain will remain neutral in any war against France.