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Born in Edinburgh in 1740. He was the son of the Laird of Auchinleck, a title he later inherited. In 1762, having qualified as a lawyer, he travelled to London hoping to rub shoulders with 'men of genius' and in particular his literary hero, Samuel Johnson. He realised this ambition the following year when he met Johnson in a Covent Garden bookshop. The two men became close and remained friends until Johnson's death.
oil on canvas
76.2 x 63.5 cm
Purchased with help from the Art Fund, the Johnson Club and HM Government, 1965
National Portrait Gallery, London
St Martin’s Place, London, Greater London WC2H 0HE EnglandView venue
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