National Recording Project


Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Monument to James Boswell (1740-1795)


Type Medallion , Statue

     Boswell is represented with his sword by his side, notebook under his arm, and walking stick held behind his back. The face of Boswell is taken from a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and his figure and costume from Langton's sketch of his friend. Around the top of the pedestal are medallions of five of Boswell's friends; Burke; Samuel Johnson's pupil, the actor David Garrick; Goldsmith; Mrs Thrale; and Sir Joshua Reynolds. Below these are scenes in which Johnson and Boswell took part; Johnson and Boswell in the Hebrides; Johnson introducing Boswell to the Literary Club of London; Johnson and Boswell supping at the Three Crowns Inn, Lichfield. Boswell's coat of arms and crest of a hawk with the motto 'Vraie Foy' [true faith] are also included.
     The statue and pedestal have received a special coating to preserve it from atmospheric pollution and the base stone was repaired with epoxy resin and stainless steel pins. Some core material and support iron work were left inside the legs, and damp and corrosion were treated. (1)
     James Boswell (1740-1795) is best known as the biographer of Doctor Samuel Johnson. He spent much of an extravagant life in London and in Europe. He moved in a social circle of intellectuals, using them as contacts to meet Johnson, whom he eventually met in 1763. The pair became friends and with the approval of Johnson, Boswell made notes of many of their conversations. His 'Life of Samuel Johnson' published in 1791 was an immediate success.


Inscribed, south side: THE WORK/ OF/ PERCY FITZGERLAD M.A. F.S.A./ BIOGRAPHER OF BOSWELL/ ALSO EDITOR OF BOSWELL'S JOHNSON/ PRESENTED BY HIM/ TO/ THE CITY OF LICHFIELD/ W.R.COLERIDGE-ROBERTS. MAYOR/ HERBERT RUSSELL TOWN CLERK/ 1908. North side, beneath figure: BOSWELL Adjacent to relief panel of Johnson and Boswell: 1740/ 1795 North side, within the three portrait medallions: GOLDSMITH GARRIC (sic) BURKE North side, within roundel below relief panel: Vraie [bird] Foy East side, within portrait medallion: REYNOLDS East side, within bronze relief: At/Three Crowns West side, within portrait medallion: THRALE West side, within bronze relief: At the Club

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Fitzgerald, Percy Hetherington Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Figure Bronze 1.9m high
Base stone Black marble None
Plinth Portland stone 1.8m high

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
STliLIlb009 BM
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Previous treatments
Structural condition
  • None
  • None
Road Market Place
Precise location None
A-Z ref 1513G
OS ref SK117096
Date of design None
Year of unveiling 1908
Unveiling details 19 September 1908
Commissioned by Presented to the city by the sculptor
Duty of care Lichfield City Council
Listing status II
At risk? Not at risk

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