Johnson as Icon


Josiah Wedgwood & Sons. Samuel Johnson portrait medallion. 1784. Jasperware. *2003JM-214

Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) began issuing a series of profile portraits of "Illustrious Moderns" in 1773. The subjects included Johnson's contemporaries Joshua Reynolds and Benjamin Franklin, as well as earlier luminaries such as Louis XIV and Shakespeare. The portrait was the work of John Flaxman (1755-1826), an artist for the Wedgwood firm, and may have been taken from the life.