Charlotte Johnson Wahl

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Charlotte Offlow Johnson Wahl (née Fawcett) is a British artist,[1] also known as the mother of Boris Johnson, British Foreign Secretary and former Mayor of London.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

The daughter of James Fawcett, and his wife Frances Beatrice Lowe,[3] she has a brother and three sisters. Her maternal grandparents, who were American, were palaeographer Elias Avery Lowe and translator Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter. Elias was a Russian Jewish immigrant to the U.S, while Helen was from Pennsylvania. Her great-great-aunt was poet Charlotte Porter.[citation needed]

She read English at Oxford University, and was the first married female undergraduate at Lady Margaret Hall. She interrupted her studies to go to the US with her husband Stanley Johnson whom she met at Oxford and married in Marylebone, London in 1963. She later returned to LMH with a baby and pregnant with her second child to sit Finals in 1965. She was awarded a second class honours degree.


Johnson Wahl is recorded as having "made her name as a professional portrait painter" for the likes of Crispin Tickell, Joanna Lumley, Jilly Cooper, and Simon Jenkins, but is "also known for her vibrant and edgy urban landscapes",[3] which have been described as echoing the Vorticist style.[4]

She continues to paint. Her paintings sell at prices from £1,000 to £5,000 for a large one.[2] Two of Wahl's paintings are in the collection of the Bethlem Museum of the Mind; another two are in the collections of Oxford University colleges.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Johnson Wahl is the mother of politicians Boris Johnson and Jo Johnson, journalist Rachel Johnson and son Leo Johnson. She and Stanley later divorced. She married American professor Nicholas Wahl in 1988, but she was widowed in 1996.[3]

She suffers from Parkinson's disease, which was first diagnosed in 1989.[3]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Charlotte Johnson-Wahl profile, The Times (London, England), 15 May 2008, pg. 15.
  2. ^ a b Julia Llewellyn Smith (17 May 2008) "Boris Johnson, by his mother Charlotte Johnson Wahl", The Telegraph, 18 February 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d "People think I'm drunk ... but my Parkinson's symptoms are better if I have a drink", Daily Mail, 18 February 2008.
  4. ^ Jonathan Jones (17 May 2008) "What would Boris's artist mum say about his train booze ban?", OnArt Blog (, 15 May 2008.
  5. ^ Charlotte Johnson Wahl paintings, BBC Your Paintings; accessed 1 May 2016.