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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

Good.

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.

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