Bernard Lens (III)
- Extended Catalogue Entry
Bernard Lens (III)
by Bernard Lens (III)
watercolour and bodycolour on vellum, 1721
1 3/4 in. x 1 3/8 in. (44 mm x 35 mm) oval
On display in the Room 10 miniature case at the National Portrait Gallery
Sitterback to top
- Bernard Lens (III) (1682-1740), Artist, miniature painter, topographical draughtsman, etcher, limner and drawing master. Sitter in 1 portrait, Artist associated with 7 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Bernard Lens (III) (1682-1740), Artist, miniature painter, topographical draughtsman, etcher, limner and drawing master. Artist associated with 7 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.
This portraitback to top
From 1707, Lens pioneered the use of ivory for miniatures, though as seen in this self-portrait, he also continued to paint on vellum, a sort of parchment made from calf skin.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Kerslake, John, Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, p. 167
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 377
- Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 59 Read entry
Although this particular work is on vellum, Bernard Lens, the third of a dynasty of miniaturists, hence the 'III' which often follows his name, was one of the first in England to paint on ivory. In this he followed the example of the celebrated portrait painter Rosalba Carriera. This self-portrait, one of several he made, clearly shows a characteristic of his work, graphically described by Graham Reynolds in his 1988 account of Lens as 'an uncomplicated ellipsoid suggestive of mumps'.
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1721back to top
Current affairsRobert Walpole becomes the first British Prime Minister and holds the post for an unrivalled tenure of twenty-one years.
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer John Aislabie is imprisoned in the Tower of London and found guilty of corruption for his part in the collapse of the South Sea Company.
Art and scienceArtist William Hogarth produces his first satirical engraving The South Sea Scheme in response to the South Sea Bubble of the previous year.
Writer and diplomat's wife, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu introduces the smallpox inoculation to Britain. The Princess of Wales is persuaded to test the treatment and the procedure becomes fashionable.
InternationalJohann Sebastian Bach writes the six Brandenburg Concertos for his employer at the court of Köthen.
Montesquieu completes his best-selling Lettres Persanes (Persian Letters); a critical view of contemporary western politics, religion and society.
Treaty of Nystad in which Sweden cedes Estonia to Russia with most of Latvia. Russia becomes the dominant regional power and Peter the Great has himself proclaimed 'Emperor of all Russia'.