© National Portrait Gallery, London
by Samuel William Reynolds, after Sir Joshua Reynolds Click on the links below to find out more
9 in. x 6 1/2 in. (228 mm x 165 mm) plate size; 11 5/8 in. x 8 5/8 in. (296 mm x 220 mm) paper size
Purchased with help from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Pilgrim Trust, 1966
- Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Poet, critic and lexicographer. Sitter associated with 50 portraits.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), Painter and first President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 1413 portraits, Sitter associated with 38 portraits.
- Samuel William Reynolds (1773-1835), Mezzotint engraver and painter. Artist associated with 628 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.
The diagnosis of Tourette syndrome two hundred years after Johnson's death became widely accepted. During Johnson's lifetime the condition was unknown but Boswell describes Johnson displaying signs of Tourette Syndrome including tics and other involuntary movements. According to Boswell 'he commonly held his head to one side ... moving his body backwards and forwards, and rubbing his left knee in the same direction, with the palm of his hand ... [H]e made various sounds' like 'a half whistle' or 'as if clucking like a hen', and '... all this accompanied sometimes with a thoughtful look, but more frequently with a smile.'
- NPG D36536: Samuel Johnson (based on same portrait)
Radical 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 science
Josiah 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.
Captain 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.