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Reading Circle

Past Exhibitions

Committed to their Custody: The Women Supporting Dr. Johnson’s House and Legacy Across the Twentieth Century

The exhibit tells the story of the female curators at Dr. Johnson’s House across the 20th century, including their creation of “The Fireman’s Arts Club” during the war, when the House was attacked during the blitz.

This exhibition was curated by Scholar-in-Residence, Prof. Sheila T Cavanagh of Emory University in
collaboration with the current Custodian Curator, Celine Luppo McDaid, with great assistance from the Deputy Curator, Helen  Woollison.  

 Special thanks are owed to the trustees, patrons, volunteers and friends of Dr Johnson's House, with particular gratitude to the Gathergood family. Thanks also to Emory University's Center for Faculty Excellence and The Laney Graduate School and to the Georgia State University program in Public History.

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Dr Samuel Johnson’s Greatcoat
Louise Whittles

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From 5 October 2018

For this project, London based artist Louise Whittles, wanted to explore how a particular constructed garment could lead to further thinking about the possible wearer. This may be through an invocation of something that happened to the garment or the wearer.

In preparation, Whittles began initial experimentation with wire netting and fabric to get the structure of the coat. References to the tailoring a greatcoat were taken from illustrations before starting to remake it with the view to encapsulate and embody Johnson. Both Johnson and Bowell had taken greatcoats with them on their tour of the Hebrides, and Johnson’s Dr. Johnson’s personality flows through this interpretation of his coat, particularly in the way it has been molded using wire netting, frozen in time as being blow by the strong Hebridian winds.

You can see more of the artist’s work here.


three photos of previous curators

Three generations of curators of Dr Johnson's House during the twentieth Century.

Samuel Johnson's Greatcoat

Dr Samuel Johnson’s Greatcoat
Louise Whittles
Wire netting and fabric with printed lining
Dimensions variable

LondonShh. Small Historic Houses Link to London Shh website Accredited Museum