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James Boswell and his family

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James Boswell and his family About 1786

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
This group portrait by Henry Singleton shows the author James Boswell with his wife and three of their children. Boswell is best known for his close friendship with Dr Samuel Johnson. His biography of the famous literary man, ‘Life of Johnson’, was published in 1791 and is widely regarded as one of the best biographies ever written. He also published a number of journals that document their travels together, including the celebrated tour to the Hebrides in 1773. Boswell’s personal diaries reveal another aspect of his character – that of an amorous adventurer. His wife, Margaret Montgomery, turned a blind eye to most of his drinking and womanising. The three children pictured here are probably Veronica, James and six-year old Elizabeth.


  • Acc. No. PG 1250
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 104.10 x 125.10 cm (framed: 126.00 x 146.00 x 8.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1935