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Portrait miniature - Portrait of Henry V
  • Portrait of Henry V
    Lens, Bernard III, born 1681 - died 1740
  • Enlarge image

Portrait of Henry V

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    1732 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lens, Bernard III, born 1681 - died 1740 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on vellum

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with funds from the Stephenson Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case RMC, shelf 1, box J

Bernard Lens was the first artist in England to work in watercolour on ivory. The technique had been invented by the Venetian artist Rosalba Carriera (1675–1757). But Lens also worked on vellum (fine animal skin). In this, he was catering for the consciously old-fashioned taste of some collectors. This miniature is painted on vellum and has the solid blue background typical of 16th- and early 17th-century miniatures. It thus appears to be a ‘traditional’ miniature of historical character.

Early 18th-century antiquarians had a passion for collecting ‘heads’ (portraits of famous people). Horace Walpole, who was an amateur pupil of Bernard Lens, typified this mania. He had a collection of thousands of prints and paintings of celebrities.

Physical description

Portrait of Henry V, from a series of images of royalty in miniature, watercolour on vellum.

Place of Origin

England (probably, painted)


1732 (painted)


Lens, Bernard III, born 1681 - died 1740 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on vellum

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature of Henry V, one of a series, dated 1732, watercolour on vellum, painted by Bernard Lens (1682-1740).






Portraits; Paintings; Royalty


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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