Dr Johnson in his Travelling Dress as described in Boswell's Tour (Samuel Johnson)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dr Johnson in his Travelling Dress as described in Boswell's Tour (Samuel Johnson)

by Thomas Trotter, published by George Kearsley
line engraving, published 18 January 1786
10 3/4 in. x 7 3/8 in. (274 mm x 188 mm) paper size
Given by Henry Witte Martin, 1861
Reference Collection
NPG D34874

Sitterback to top

  • Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Poet, critic and lexicographer. Sitter associated with 51 portraits.

Artistsback to top

  • George Kearsley (circa 1739-1790), Bookseller. Artist or producer associated with 11 portraits.
  • Thomas Trotter (circa 1750-1803), Painter. Artist or producer associated with 71 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This satirical print shows Johnson with a minute figure of Boswell in the distance. It is based on an incident in which Johnson lost his stick in Scotland. Beneath the title is engraved:' The Dr's reply to Mr B...on the loss of his Oak Stick in the Hebrides...'No, No, my Friend, it is not to be expected that any Man in Mull who has got it will part with it. Consider, Sir, the value of such a piece of Timber here!''.

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Events of 1786back to top

Current affairs

Philosopher and politician Edmund Burke instigates impeachment proceedings against Warren Hastings, former Governor-General of Bengal after concerns about the moral standards of the British in India are raised.
Prime Minister William Pitt appoints commissioners for the reduction of the national debt and establishes a sinking fund of £1 million a year.
Government approves the establishment of a penal colony at Botany Bay.

Art and science

Robert Burns publishes Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect bringing him immediate success across the country.
Engraver and publisher John Boydell initiates plans for his Shakespeare Gallery in an effort to establish a school of British history painting.
Merchant David Dale establishes New Lanark in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, as a model cotton milling community.


General Charles Cornwallis succeeds Warren Hastings as Governor-General in India.
Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Marriage of Figaro premieres in Vienna.
Francisco Goya is appointed court painter to the Spanish king Charles III.

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