Art Life: 8 Jenny Uglow on Dr Johnson (1709-1784)

Postcard Biographies From The National Portrait Gallery
Click to follow
After the success of the first series of postcard biographies taken from the NPG's archives, this is a new series of specially commissioned 70-word biographies of and by major figures of today

A giant of powerful intellect, riveting talk and rolling prose, whimsical charm, twitching limbs and yearning soul, the "Great Cham of Literature" could also be a mighty bully. After long Grub Street years, the bookseller's son from Lichfield made London his own. With his Dictionary, and Lives of the Poets, and his allies in the "Club" he forged the ground of a metropolitan culture that would rule British taste for a century more.

Jenny Uglow a Anita Schiffer-Fuchs.

Samuel Johnson by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1756 a NPG.

To accompany the Art & Life series, the National Portrait Gallery has produced a pack of 25 pull-out post cards offering such delights as Virginia Woolf on George Eliot and Terry Pratchett on Tolkien.

Now on sale at pounds 5 in the NPG shop, or by mail order (0171 306 0055, x280/ fax 0171 306 0092). Add pounds 1 p&p for up to two packs, pounds 1.50 thereafter.