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Robert Dodsley (1703–1764)

Photo credit: Dr Johnson's House

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Robert Dodsley was born in Mansfield in 1703. He started life as a footman but, with the proceeds of his literary endeavours he managed to set up as a bookseller in Pall Mall. Dodsley became one of the most enterprising booksellers of the day, publishing the works of Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson and Oliver Goldsmith. He bought the poem London from the yet unknown Johnson in 1738 and published it. He was also to head the syndicate of six booksellers who financed Johnson's dictionary project. This portrait is a copy after the original by Sir Joshua Reynolds (now in Dulwich Picture Gallery).

Dr Johnson's House



18th C


oil on canvas


H 69 x W 57 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

on loan from a private collection

Work type



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Normally on display at

Dr Johnson's House

17 Gough Square, London, Greater London EC4A 3DE England

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