Dr. Johnson at the Mitre

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1860-1861


◦ Marillier, DGR: An Illustrated Memorial, 104

◦ WMR, DGR Designer and Writer, 39

◦ Sharp, DGR: A Record and a Study, 169.

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, 75 (no. 119).

Scholarly Commentary


Surtees comments that the picture is “Illustrating the following passage from Dr. Maxwell's Collectanea taken from Boswell's Life of Dr. Johnson”: ‘Two young women from Staffordshire visited him when I was present to consult him on the subject of Methodism, to which they were inclined. “Come,” said he, “You pretty fools, dine with Maxwell and me at the Mitre and we will talk over that subject,” which they did and after dinner he took one of them on his knees, and fondled them for half-an-hour together.’ Johnson's companion on this occasion was not Boswell, as represented by Rossetti, but Dr. William Maxwell.”

Production History

Two completed versions of the work were made: first, a pen and ink drawing (dated from Paris, 1860), and an enlarged watercolour replica that DGR made in the summer of 1861 (see DGR's letters to Alexander Gilchrist, 18 June and 11 July 1861, and Madox Brown, 5 July 1861 Fredeman, Correspondence, 61. 41, 61. 49, 61. 50 ).

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: s119.raw.xml