The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Martin Folkes

Martin Folkes, by Bernard Lens (III), circa 1720 -NPG 1926 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Martin Folkes

by Bernard Lens (III)
circa 1720
3 1/4 in. x 2 1/2 in. (83 mm x 64 mm)
NPG 1926

Inscriptionback to top

Signed with initials, left, in monogram: BL.
On the backing paper, now removed to the picture dossier: [M]artin Folkes Esq/[o]f the Royal Society/Born October 1690 died 28 Ju[...], and, in another hand: This Miniature was the work/of the celebrated Bernard Lens.

This portraitback to top

When listed by Farrer, 1908, at Hardwick House, Suffolk, [1] NPG 1926 was catalogued as Folkes painted by Lens in 1720. No date is now visible on the miniature or its case. The inscription given by Farrer read: Sir Martin Folkes, P.R.S. Born, Oct. 1690. Died 28 June 1754. Taken in 1720. It is not known when the miniature entered the collection at Hardwick nor is any connection with the family immediately apparent. The features of the sitter agree well with established portraits, particularly with the Richardson of 1718. The instrument shown seems to be a mural quadrant with telescope, but has not been precisely identified. The drawing, perhaps inaccurate, might represent a portion of Hadley's octant of 1731, now in the Science Museum. It is distinguished from it by having, for instance, a telescopic sight, the eyepiece being just below Folkes' hand. [2]

Footnotesback to top

1) E. Farrer, Portraits in Suffolk Houses (West), 1908 p 151.
2) Information from H. Tait, British Museum.

Physical descriptionback to top

Oval; thick dark brown eyebrows, dark brown eyes, pale complexion, long plump face, full-bottomed yellow-grey wig falling to, and behind, his right shoulder; long white cravat, light brown velvet coat, open, his left hand on the quadrant of a scientific instrument.

Conservationback to top


Provenanceback to top

Received, 1922; bequeathed by G. Milner-Gibson-Cullum, with other portraits.

Exhibitionsback to top

'International Exhibition of Miniatures', Brussels, 1912, British section (as ‘Sir' Martin Folkes).

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

View all known portraits for Martin Folkes

View all known portraits for Bernard Lens (III)

Get Creative

Enter our Jubilee family competition

Submit your family’s recreation of a Royal portrait to win some Jubilee goodies

Enter now

Develop your art skills

Discover our BP Next Generation short films made by artists. Follow step by step guides in drawing and painting techniques.

Improve your skills

Hold Still

Hold Still photography workshop

Reflect on your own experiences of lockdown through this easy-to-do from home, photographic exercise. 

Watch the video

Draw Like a Renaissance Master

Revisit The Encounter exhibition and learn about Renaissance and Baroque drawing methods and materials.

Improve your technique