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Reading Circle

Past Exhibitions

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Collecting Johnson: Attracted by rarity, seduced by example, and inflamed by competition

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From Saturday 1 July onwards
FREE after usual admission charge

Over the years, the life and work Samuel Johnson has proved irresistible as a topic of research, collection and contemplation. This exhibition features a variety of objects from some of the most prestigious private collectors of Johnsoniana, as well as from keen enthusiasts who are taken with Johnsonian ephemera and keepsakes with the same fervour.

‘Collecting Johnson’ explores the popularity of collecting memorabilia, and the preservation of the memory of the great figures from society.The exhibition will also showcasetheresearch that collectors can contribute to the detailed picture we have of the man and his circle of friends.

Alongside a variety of paintings, we have brought together personal items such as James Boswell’s snuff box, letters in Johnson’s own hand, and a never before seen x-ray of what lies beneath the surface of a little known portrait of Johnson. Many of these objects have never been exhibited for the public before.

You can read a review of the exhibition on the British Society of Eighteenth Century Studies' Website. We welcome reviews from journalists and enthusiasts alike, and you can also arrange an appointment with the Curator upon request if desired.


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