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Johnson's Literary Club

40 People in sitter grouping:

Known as Johnson's Literary Club, The Literary Club and simply The Club during its lifetime, this society was originally set up by the artist Joshua Reynolds in 1764, to provide Samuel Johnson with ready conversation and dining company. The group would meet once a week for supper and debate at the Turks Head tavern in Soho, London, often talking and drinking into the early hours. Consisting of 9 members in 1764, the group quickly expanded to a membership of 12, 16 and then 21, much to Johnson's distaste, which was particularly aimed at the intake of Whig politicians. By 1783 the number had risen again to 35, and Johnson and other older members began dining ever more infrequently, disagreeing with the new company. Shortly before his death, in 1783 Johnson established The Essex Head Club, a smaller and more exclusive set of diners, which would be disbanded by the late 1780s. The original Literary Club however, would survive Johnson's death, with a flourishing membership reaching approximately 50 members by the late 20th century.

Sir Joseph Banks, Bt

Explorer and botanist
Sitter associated with 35 portraits

James Boswell

Biographer of Dr Johnson
Sitter associated with 16 portraits

Edmund Burke

Statesman; orator; author
Sitter associated with 105 portraits

Charles James Fox

Whig statesman
Sitter associated with 305 portraits

David Garrick

Actor, playwright and theatre manager
Sitter associated with 56 portraits

Oliver Goldsmith

Sitter in 10 portraits

Samuel Johnson

Poet, critic and lexicographer
Sitter associated with 50 portraits

Sir Joshua Reynolds

Painter and first President of the Royal Academy
Sitter associated with 38 portraits | Artist associated with 1413 portraits

Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Dramatist and parliamentary orator
Sitter associated with 167 portraits

Adam Smith

Political economist
Sitter in 6 portraits

John Dunning, 1st Baron Ashburton

Sitter in 14 portraits

Thomas Barnard

Bishop of Limerick
Sitter in 2 portraits

Topham Beauclerk

Book collector
Sitter in 2 portraits

Sir Thomas Charles Bunbury, 6th Bt

High Sheriff of Suffolk, racing administrator and politician; MP for Suffolk
Sitter in 7 portraits

Richard Burke

Politician; son of Edmund Burke
Sitter in 2 portraits

Charles Burney

Musician and historian of music
Sitter in 10 portraits

Sir Robert Chambers

Indian judge
Sitter in 1 portrait

Anthony Chamier

Financier and government official
Sitter in 1 portrait