National Recording Project


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

Doctor Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)


Type Panel , Statue

     The seated statue of Johnson is raised on a moulded pedestal with three relief panels. Johnson is depicted wearing academic robes, his chin resting on his hand, and appears deep in thought. He sits upon a Greek Revival chair with books stacked underneath it.The reliefs illustrate scenes from Johnson's life, and are influenced by Donatello's Schiacciato relief (1).
          Doctor Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was one of the most important writers of the eighteenth century. Initially he struggled to become a writer, taking various writing jobs including biographies, satires and reports from Parliament. In 1755 he published the book he is most famous for- The Dictionary of the English Language. He continued to write until his death supported by a pension granted by George III in 1762. Due to James Boswell's 1791 biography 'Life of Samuel Johnson', Johnson's personality has often eclipsed his writings and consequently many famous Johnson quotes actually come from Boswell's recollections of conversation, rather than Johnson's own writing.


below extended left foot of figure: JOHNSON rear of pedestal: THIS STATUE/WAS PRESENTED TO THE/CITIZENS OF LICHFIELD/BY JAMES THOS LAW/CHANCELLOR OF THE DIOCESE/AUGUST 1838. (below this, in smaller letters): TO COMMEMORATE THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY/ OF THE DEATH OF DR SAMUEL JOHNSON/"Every man has a lurking wish to appear/considerable in his native place."/The Johnson Society 13.December 1984 Below relief of minister preaching: LISTENING TO DR SACHEVEREL PREACHING Below relief of three schoolboys: THUS HE WAS BORNE FROM/SCHOOL Below relief of Johnson in the market: HIS PENANCE IN UTTOXETER MARKET

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Lucas, Richard Cockle Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Statue Ashlar 2m high
Pedestal Torus moulding to base 2.4m high x 1.37m x 1.37m
Three reliefs Stone Two of them are 1.31m high x 99cm wide; the other is 1.31m high x 65cm wide

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
STliLIlb008 BM
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Abrasions, cracks, splits
  • Biological growth
  • Previous treatments
  • Corrosion, Deterioration
Structural condition
  • Loose elements
  • Cracks, splits, breaks, holes
  • None
Road Market Square
Precise location North west side
A-Z ref 231 D4
OS ref None

Sorry, we have no precise geographical information for this item.

Date of design None
Year of unveiling 1838
Unveiling details 14 August 1838
Commissioned by Dr John Thomas Law, Chancellor of the Diocese of Lichfield
Duty of care Lichfield City Council
Listing status II*
At risk? No known risk

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