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Creator:
Attributed to Bernard Lens III, 1682–1740, British
Title:

Portrait of a Young Man

Date:
undated
Medium:
Watercolor and gouache on vellum
Dimensions:
Sheet: 3 3/8 x 3 1/8 inches (8.6 x 7.9 cm) and Frame: 6 3/4 x 6 3/8 x 5/8 inches (17.1 x 16.2 x 1.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B2001.2.1392
Classification:
Drawings & Watercolors-Miniatures
Collection:
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
clouds | hat | man | page | portrait | trees
Access:
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
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Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:38758
Export:
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The identity of this young man is unknown. He is depicted bust-length in an outdoor setting, wearing clothes that suggest his role as a page—a personal attendant to a person of high rank, distinguished by his costly livery. The buttons of his silk coat appear to be made of silver or even diamonds, and the buttonholes are lined with silver thread. His elaborately decorated turban is finished with a plume of feathers. Miniatures like this were usually made as precious keepsakes and were either worn as jewelry or stored in cabinets with other images of loved ones. This painting may belong to the genre of “servant portraits” in which masters commissioned individual portraits of valued members of their staff. If so, the miniature format implies an especially intimate relationship, whose private nature contrasts with the page’s official function: to broadcast his master’s spectacular wealth in public.

Gallery label for Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain (Yale Center for British Art, 2014-10-02 - 2014-12-14)
The identity of this young man is unknown. He is depicted bust-length in an outdoor setting, wearing clothes that suggest his role as a page—a personal attendant to a person of high rank, distinguished by his costly livery. The buttons of his silk coat appear to be made of silver or even diamonds, and the buttonholes are lined with silver thread. His elaborately decorated turban is finished with a plume of feathers. Miniatures like this were usually made as precious keepsakes and were either worn as jewelry or stored in cabinets with other images of loved ones. This painting may belong to the genre of “servant portraits” in which masters commissioned individual portraits of valued members of their staff. If so, the miniature format implies an especially intimate relationship, whose private nature contrasts with the page’s official function: to broadcast his master’s spectacular wealth in public.

Esther Chadwick, Meredith Gamer, and Cyra Levenson

Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in eighteenth-century Atlantic Britain, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2014, V 2556 (YCBA)

Figures of Empire : Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2014, pp. 18, 41, V 2556 (YCBA)

Slavery and Portraiture in 18th-century Atlantic Britain, [ Website ] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2015, Available Online https://interactive.britishart.yale.edu/slavery-and-portraiture/

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. 17, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA)


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