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18th century portrait miniature of Edward V (1470-1483) painted in watercolour on ivory


Artist: Bernard Lens

Signed with monogram on the obverse, fully inscribed and dated 1732 on the reverse

In 1720 Lens was appointed 'Painter in Enamel in Ordinary' to King George I (an unsalaried position, according to George Vertue), and after the king's death in 1727 served his successor George II in the same capacity. This official title was somewhat of a misnomer, as Lens never worked in enamel: Vertue notes that his predecessor in the post, Charles Boit (1662-1727), had caused the honorary designation to be changed from 'Limner' to 'Enameller' to reflect his own talents, and the title was simply transferred to Lens.

Lens painted original likenesses throughout his career, but he also had a thriving business limning copies of historic miniatures and miniature copies on paper or vellum of oil paintings by both Old Masters and contemporary artists, of which this is a perfect example A number of Bernard Lens's copies reproduce historic sixteenth- and seventeenth-century portrait miniatures, this portrait is part of a series of likenesses of kings and queens of England, many of which survive in multiple examples. Six of these miniature copies of Kings are in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (inv. E.594-1994 to E.599-1994).

Edward succeeded his father, Edward IV, as King of England and Lord of Ireland upon the latter's death on 9 April 1483. He was never crowned, and his brief reign was dominated by the influence of his uncle and Lord Protector, the Duke of Gloucester, who deposed him to reign as Richard III on 26 June 1483; this was confirmed by the Act entitled Titulus Regius, which denounced any further claims through his father's heirs.

Edward and his younger brother Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, were the Princes in the Tower who disappeared after being sent to heavily guarded royal lodgings in the Tower of London. Responsibility for their deaths is widely attributed to Richard III, but the lack of any solid evidence and conflicting contemporary accounts also suggest other possible suspects.
More Information
Year                 1732.
Medium                 watercolour on ivory.
Signed                 Signed with monogram on the obverse, fully inscribed and dated on reverse
Condition                 Good
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