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Bernard Lens III, 1682–1740
The Reverand Dr. John Harris
Additional Title(s):
The Rev. Dr. Harris
Materials & Techniques:
Watercolor and gouache over graphite on ivory
Image: 3 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches (8.3 x 6.4 cm), Frame: 4 1/4 x 3 5/8 x 3/8 inches (10.8 x 9.2 x 1 cm)

Inscribed on paper attached to back of ivory: "The Reverend | Dr Harris one of the | prebans of Rochester & | Chapplain of the Lord High | Chancellor of Great Britain | Earle Cowper | Bernard Lens fecit by the | Life 1707"; inscribed on paper attached to frame's backing in pen and brown ink center: "The Rev.d Dr Harris | one of the Prebens of | Rochester | Chaplain to the Lord High | Chancellor of Great Brittain | Earl of Cowper | Author of the Lexicon Technicon | B. Lens ad visum pinxt | 1707"

Signed in gold, lower left: "BL"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors-Miniatures
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

Miniatures in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were painted, or "limned," on vellum, but Bernard Lens III popularized the use of Ivory supports for miniatures in England early in the eighteenth century. Lens's portrait of the Reverend Dr. John Harris of 1707 (cat. 16) is the earliest dated English miniature painted on ivory by an English artist. Although ivory was more durable than vellum, and capable of a shimmering luminosity when painted with thin, translucent washes of watercolor, artists initially found it a difficult support to work on, and techniques for painting on ivory were not perfected until later in the century.

Gillian Forrester

Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neill, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001. pg. 32 cat. no. 16

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

English Portrait Drawings & Miniatures (Yale Center for British Art, 1979-12-05 - 1980-02-17) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Daphne Foskett, British portrait miniatures : A history, Spring Books, Feltham, 1968, p. 90, ND1337 .G7 F46 1968 (LC) YCBA [ORBIS]

Basil S. Long, British miniaturists, G. Bles, London, 1929, pp. 268-9, ND1337 .G7 L65 (LC)+ Oversize YCBA [OCLC]

Patrick Noon, English Portrait Drawings & Miniatures, Yale Center for British Art, 1979, pp. 22-23, no. 21, NC772 N66+ (Wall Shelf) (YCBA) [YCBA]

Graham Reynolds, English portrait miniatures, A. and C. Black, London, 1952, p. 105, ND1337 .G7 R49 (LC) YCBA [ORBIS]

Scott Wilcox, Line of beauty : British drawings and watercolors of the eighteenth century, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, p. 32, cat. no. 16, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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