- Also known as
Bernard Lens II
primary name: Lens, Bernard
- individual; printmaker; British; Male
- Life dates
- Addresses given on prints with dates where known:
between Bridewell Bridge and Fleet Bridge in Blackfriars ( 1690)
at the Three Crowns and Dial in Fleet Street at the corner of Water Lane (CS 20 of 1703)
at the Golden Head in Vine (Wine) Office Court, Fleet Street (1705-10, see Burlington Mag. 1998, p.95, n.10)
St John's Street (dwelling place at time of his death in 1725, according to sales after death)
- Mezzotinter; son of Bernard Lens I (q.v.); his early career can only be followed through his prints, some of these bear addresses (see above); in 1697 he and the engraver John Sturt jointly founded a drawing school in St Paul's Churchyard, which is advertised in a broadsheet (BL 816 m.23/3), and mentioned again in an advertisement in the London Gazette of 5 December 1700 for a drawing book of 52 plates, priced at 2s 6d, that they had jointly produced for use in the school; Lens was appointed drawing master at Christ's Hospital in 1705; Vertue records that he died on 28 April 1725, aged 66, and was buried in St Bride's, Fleet Street; posthumous sale of his plates and the prints from them, his printing press and materials on 10 May 1725 at the Two Golden Balls, Hart Street (catalogues from Mr Cooper's in James Street and at sale, no copy of the catalogue is known, adv. Daily Post 6 May 1725). The sale of his 'curious Italian drawings' and by Bischop, Wyck, Vander Velder, &c 'from 40 years of collection' was held on 10 November the same year (BL Sc 550/13). His son Edward Lens (c. 1685-1749) succeeded him as drawing master at Christ's Hospital and a drawing book for the students there was published the year after his death, which is often attributed to his brother Bernard Lens III (q.v.).
Lens' output of mezzotints was vast, and far more varied than that of any other mezzotinter; some he made for other publishers; many were made for Edward Cooper, including a notable group after paintings by Jan Vandervaart, whose portrait of Lens was mentioned in Lens' will; some Lens published himself; others which only carry his 'excudit' seem also to have been made by him; some were tiny, some were medium size, some were very large - especially the three plates of firework displays that he produced for the return of William III from Ireland in 1690, for the capture of Namur in 1695, and for the peace of 1713.
- Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', p.263 (whence biography below)