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Samuel Johnson

11 of 50 portraits of Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson, by Samuel William Reynolds, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds, (1769) - NPG D3176 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Samuel Johnson

by Samuel William Reynolds, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
mezzotint, (1769)
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, 1966
Reference Collection
NPG D3176


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Sitterback to top

  • Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Poet, critic and lexicographer. Sitter associated with 50 portraits.

Artistsback 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.
  • Samuel William Reynolds (1773-1835), Mezzotint engraver and painter. Artist associated with 627 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

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.'

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D36536: Samuel Johnson (based on same portrait)

Subject/Themeback to top