The Embroidered Dress

Andrew Benjamin Lens

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The richness of this lady’s colourfully embroidered dress suggests that she may have been connected with the Court perhaps even as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Charlotte. Her square-shaped décolleté dress is edged with lace, her pearl necklace is fastened at the back with ribbon and her curled hair is covered with a small lace cap.

Dating to around 1750, the portrait displays the traits of Andrew Benjamin Lens’ work with particularly fine detailing to the richness of the costume. It is set in a later pinned gilt metal locket frame. There is some oxidisation to the opaque whites but otherwise the portrait is in fine condition.

The second son of the miniaturist Bernard Lens (the first artist in Britain to paint miniatures on ivory), Andrew Benjamin Lens (1714-c.1779) was formally apprenticed to his father in 1728 at the age of fourteen. He exhibited at the Free Society and Society of Artists between 1764 and 1779. Upon his father’s death in 1740 he was bequeathed the sum of £250 whereas his younger brother, Peter Paul Lens, was bequeathed ‘One Shilling and no more’ as he had ‘for a long time past behaved himself with great Disrespect Disobedience and Undutifullness’ towards his father and his mother.

Item Ref. 6974

Size: framed, 45 x 36mm