A literary party at Sir Joshua Reynolds’s’
by D. George Thompson, engraving 1851
NPG D14518
(CC licence)

The Society holds regular meetings throughout the year, comprising a lunch followed by a speaker. These are held at various locations across the UK, but the usual venues are Lichfield (March), London (May), Edinburgh (August), Bath (October) and Auchinleck House (November).

The London meeting is usually held in mid-May, in memory of the meeting of James Boswell and Samuel Johnson in Thomas Davies’s bookshop in Covent Garden on 16th May 1763. The Auchinleck meeting is timed around the date of Boswell’s birth on 29th October 1740. The Presidential Address is traditionally given at this meeting.

Details of upcoming meetings are listed in the latest Newsletter. Due to Covid restrictions, some meetings of the Society during 2020 and 2021 were conducted online.

Past Meetings & Speakers

8 October 2022 (Caprington Castle): Robert Boswell, ‘Dr William Roxburgh, Ayrshire to Bengal: How the Frankincense plant was given the genus name Boswellia

2 March 2022 (Lichfield): Julia Bracewell, ‘The Misfortune of Mary Bryant: James Boswell and the Bleak House Will’

30 October 2021 (online): Dane Love, ‘The History of Ochiltree’
[a video recording of this talk is available via the Members’ Area of the website.]

9 October 2021 (online): Professor Richard B. Sher, New Jersey, ‘“The prop and stay of your life?”: Samuel Johnson, Margaret Boswell, and James Boswell’s Relocation to London’

15 May 2021 (online): Professor David Purdie, Edinburgh, ‘Classical Boswell: Virgil, Horace and friends in The Life of Samuel Johnson’
[a video recording of this talk is available via the Members’ Area of the website.]

2 March 2020 (Lichfield): Professor Gordon Turnbull, Yale, ‘Boswell, Burns and Alexander (“wee”) Millar: The Battle for the Parish of Kilmaurs’

12 October 2019 (Bath): Professor Norma Clarke, London University, ‘Boswell and The Club’ 

23 August, 2019 (Balmuto Castle, Fife): Dr Andrew Boswell, ‘The Life and Times of Thomas Boswell (1483-1513)’
[a video recording of this talk is available here]

2 March 2019 (Lichfield): Professor Jerry White, ‘Debt and the Marshalsea in Boswell’s London’

24 October 2018 (Auchinleck), Dr Ralph McLean, ‘James Boswell and the National Library of Scotland’

24 August 2018 (Edinburgh): Sonia Anderson, ‘James Boswell and Sir Alexander Dick of Prestonfield’ 

2 March 2018 (Lichfield): Joanne Wilson, ‘Boswell’s Bookcase: exploring Johnson’s biographer in the Birthplace collection’

25 October 2017 (Auchinleck): Professor Christopher A. Whatley, ‘The Scots and the Union: Then and Now’

7 October 2017 (Bath): David R. Boswell, ‘A Genealogical Chase’

27 September 2017 (Edinburgh): Roger Craik QC, ‘Boswell’s Children’

2 March 2017 (Lichfield): Dr Graham Nicholls, ‘Boswell and Johnson: the end of the friendship’

26 October 2016 (Auchinleck): Dr Susan Rennie, ‘Boswell’s Dictionary of Scots’

15 October 2016 (Bath): Michael Bundock, ‘The Fortunes of Francis Barber’

28 October 2015 (Auchinleck): Mark McLean, ‘The Friendship between Lord Hailes and James Boswell’

17 October 2015 (Bath): Eric Christen, ‘Boswell’s Visit to Rousseau Motiers December 1764’

16 May 2015 (London): Dr Cecil Courtney, ‘Belle de Zuylen and James Boswell’

2004–2005: Luncheon at Auchinleck House celebrating half a millenium of Boswell of Auchinleck, 1504-2004