3537-0

Samuel Johnson and Greene’s Museum

Image: Portrait of Samuel Johnson. Johnson was born and educated in Lichfield and had a great interest in Greene’s collections.  John Jackson, History of the City and Cathedral of Lichfield (London, 1805).

Image from: Local Studies and History, Birmingham Central Library

The success of Greene’s museum was such that it was open for six days a week.

Samuel Johnson visited it several times, and in 1776 J.Boswell wrote:

We went and viewed the museum of Mr. Richard Green, apothecary here, who told me he was proud of being a relation of Dr. Johnson’s. It was, truely, a wonderful collection, both of antiquities and natural curiosities, and ingenious works of art. He had all the articles accurately arranged, with their names upon labels, printed at his own little press; and on the staircase leading to it was a board, with the names of contributors marked in gold letters. A printed catalogue of the collection was to be had at a bookseller’s. Johnson expressed his admiration of the activity and diligence and good fortune of Mr. Green, in getting together, in his situation, so great a variety of things; and Mr. Green told me that Johnson once said to him, “Sir, I should as soon have thought of building a man of war, as of collecting such a museum.” Mr. Green’s obliging alacrity in shewing it was very pleasing.

Later Samuel Johnson presented to Greene the inkstand with which the Dictionary of English Language was written.



Continue browsing this section

4435-0A Window on the World: Richard Greene’s Museum of Curiosities in Lichfield 4434-0Richard Greene and 18th Century Museums 856-0British Antiquities in Greene’s Museum 1078-0Natural History in Greene’s Museum 3536-0Curiosities in Greene’s Museum 4433-0Curiosities in Greene’s Museum 3537-0Samuel Johnson and Greene’s Museum 8-0Erasmus Darwin, the Lunar Society and Greene’s Museum 3715-0Joseph Wright of Derby and Greene’s Museum 6-0Matthew Boulton, John Whitehurst, Josiah Wedgwood and Greene’s Museum 4432-0The Reputation and Importance of Greene’s Museum