Bernard Lens (British, 1682-1740) Henry IV (1367-1413), King of England and Lord of Ireland (1399-1413), wearing emerald green tunic edged with gold and brown fur, white linen shirt edged with gold, gold ceremonial chain bearing the Plantagenet armorial lion, jewelled red chaperon edged with gold and pearls, he carries a sceptre under his right arm, painted against a blue ground with gold border
Lot 3*
Bernard Lens
(British, 1682-1740)
Henry IV (1367-1413), King of England and Lord of Ireland (1399-1413), wearing emerald green tunic edged with gold and brown fur, white linen shirt edged with gold, gold ceremonial chain bearing the Plantagenet armorial lion, jewelled red chaperon edged with gold and pearls, he carries a sceptre under his right arm, painted against a blue ground with gold border
£1,000 - 1,500
US$ 1,700 - 2,500
Auction Details
Lot Details
Bernard Lens (British, 1682-1740)
Henry IV (1367-1413), King of England and Lord of Ireland (1399-1413), wearing emerald green tunic edged with gold and brown fur, white linen shirt edged with gold, gold ceremonial chain bearing the Plantagenet armorial lion, jewelled red chaperon edged with gold and pearls, he carries a sceptre under his right arm, painted against a blue ground with gold border.
Watercolour on vellum, signed on the obverse with gilt monogram BL, wood mount inscribed K. Henry. IV in gold, rectangular ebonised wood frame, the reverse bearing the inscription 13/ King Henry.y.e.IV./ Bernd Lens Fecit/ 1732.
Circular, 50mm (1 15/16in) dia.

Footnotes

  • The present and subsequent lots form part of a series by Bernard Lens portraying English Heads of State, conceived during the 1720s and 1730s. Emulating the work of Tudor and early Stuart miniaturists, the portraits were painted on circular supports with solid blue backgrounds and gold borders. Each miniature is presented within a rectangular ebonised wood frame: the obverse inscribed with the ruler's title in gold; the reverse bearing a handwritten label formulaically signed and dated by the artist.

    The series was created in response to the fashion for collecting portraits of rulers and famous personalities amongst antiquarians throughout the 18th century. The inspiration behind the miniatures portraying Henry IV and Richard III was drawn directly from two oil portraits, which had once been part of a 'set' of sixteen from Hornby Castle, portraying English monarchs. Conceived by various unknown artists between the years 1590-1620, all sixteen original panels now form part of the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG 4980/9; NPG 4980/12 respectively).

    From this same series by Lens, the V&A Museum holds two portrait miniatures of Henry V (1386–1422) and James I (1566-1625), together with another by his son, Andrew Benjamin Lens, portraying Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658). The miniature of King John (1167-1216) by Bernard Lens was auctioned at these salerooms on 10 April 2002 (lot 324).

    As the eldest son of John of Gaunt (1340-1399) and Blanche of Lancaster (1345-1368), Henry - also known as 'Bolingbroke' after the Lincolnshire castle where he was born - was fully allied to the powerful Lancastrian cadet branch of the House of Plantagenet. His tumultuous relationship with his cousin, Richard II (1367-c.1400), defined his early years since he consistently fell in and out of the king's favour. Upon John of Gaunt's death in 1399, Richard witheld estates that should have been Henry's by right of primogeniture. In retalliation, Henry mounted a Cheshire-based rebellion against the monarch, which earned him the personal popularity necessary to depose both Richard and his heir presumptive, Edmund de Mortimer, and have himself declared King of England. It is widely agreed by both contemporary sources and modern historians alike that the blame for Richard's suspicious death in captivity can be laid at the door of his successor. Henry's unease regarding the way in which he came to obtain the crown is repeatedly displayed by the title character in the second play in Shakespeare's tetralogy, 'Henry IV, Part I'.

    Having succeeded to the throne through bloodshed and revolt, Henry's own reign was punctuated by an almost incessant stream of uprisings in Wales, Scotland and the North. Henry's continued success in surpressing the rebellions largely resulted from the military prowess exhibited by his son, Prince Hal (1386-1422), with whom he had a fractured relationship. A modern diagnosis for the medical condition that blighted Henry's final years is as yet unresolved; the king's poor health, however, saw the premature appropriation of political and Parliamentary power by Prince Hal, the future Henry V.

    A miniature from the same series by Lens portraying Richard II appeared at Christie's on 11 July 1985 (lot 431).
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