#On This Day – The Smile

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

#OnThisDay

English scholar and lexicographer, Samuel Johnson, was born on September 18, 1709. Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language is one of the most famous dictionaries in history. In Volume Two, published in 1768, Johnson describes a smile as “A slight contraction of the face”, but in 1703, showing one’s teeth was considered very bad form indeed. So much so that the Catholic saint and educational reformer, Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, wrote that nature gave man lips to conceal them!

But, how does the unexpected history of the smile link to photographer Alexander Gardner, Barrack Obama, an eighteenth century Parisian tooth-puller, and a portrait of a violinist?

Listen to our podcast on the smile to discover more!

Or why not read our magazine post on that self-same eighteenth century tooth-puller ‘Le Grande Thomas’!

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