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'The biographers' (Hester Lynch Piozzi (nee Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale); John Courtenay; James Boswell; Samuel Johnson (bust))

2 of 14 portraits of John Courtenay

'The biographers' (Hester Lynch Piozzi (nee Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale); John Courtenay; James Boswell; Samuel Johnson (bust)), by James Sayers, published by  Thomas Cornell, published June 1786 - NPG D12243 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

'The biographers' (Hester Lynch Piozzi (nee Salusbury, later Mrs Thrale); John Courtenay; James Boswell; Samuel Johnson (bust))

by James Sayers, published by Thomas Cornell
etching, published June 1786
10 3/4 in. x 7 5/8 in. (273 mm x 194 mm) plate size; 11 5/8 in. x 8 3/8 in. (295 mm x 214 mm) paper size
Purchased, 1905
Reference Collection
NPG D12243


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  • Thomas Cornell (active 1780-1792). Artist associated with 59 portraits.
  • James Sayers (1748-1823), Artist. Artist associated with 188 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

In this print a bust of Johnson looks down on the three biographers with displeasure. The inscription makes reference to Piozzi's Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson (1786), Boswell's Journal of aTour to the Hebrides (1785), in which Johnson is compared to a bear, and Courtenay's Politic Review of the Literary … Character of the late S. Johnson (1786).

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