Bonnell Thornton was an English poet, essayist, and critic. He was educated at Westminster School, and at Oxford University.
In 1752 he founded the Drury Lane Journal, a satirical periodical which, among other things, lampooned other journals such as Johnson's Rambler, The Gentleman's Magazine and The London Magazine. A total of 12 issues were published between January and April, 1752. From 1754 to 1756 he published, with George Colman, a six-page weekly serial, The Connoisseur, which, although criticised by Dr. Johnson for lack of substance, ran to an impressive 140 issues. He was a frequent contributor to The Gentleman's Magazine.
Thornton was also a member of the satirical Nonsense Club of Old Westminster men with George Colman, William Cowper, Charles Churchill and Robert Lloyd.