Portrait of John Ludlow Esquire, wearing a lace jabot and brown and gold trimmed cloak in a feigned stone oval cartouche. Inscribed 'John Ludford, Esq, nat. 14th March 1653, Ob, 15th September 1681', with old plaque 'Mary Beale'
Walsh and Jeffree The Excellent Mrs Mary Beale 1975/6
Tabitha Barber Mary Beale - Portrait of a seventeenth century painter, her family and her studio 1999.
Mary Beale (born Craddock in March 1633) was a prolific English portrait painter, becoming one of the most important portrait painters of the middle classes in 17th century England, being described as one of the first professional female English portrait painters. Her sitters included her family, her immediate circle of friends, particularly the protestant clergy, the landed gentry and nobility.
She was born in Barrow, Suffolk where her father was a rector and she married Charles Beale in 1651. She possibly studied under Robert Walker but later was chiefly influenced by Peter Lely who was a friend and whose work he sometimes allowed her to make copies of. Her most active period was in the 1670's and 80's. After Charles's employment in the government patents office came to an end and Mary`s painting became the principle source of income for the family, Charles worked alongside Mary in managed her studio, mixing her paints and keeping detailed notes of her studio activities and commissions. The notebooks for 1677 and 1681 survive and are found at the Bodleian Library, Oxford and The National Portrait Gallery, London, and Vertue published partial transcripts of others.
Mary Beale was ahead of her time as a woman in 17th century England as not only was she successful as an artist in a working environment dominated by men, but during a stay in the country whilst escaping London from the plague of 1666, she wrote about her views on equality between men and women in marriage in her 'Discourse on Friendship', putting into practice these beliefs in her own life.
Her work often displays her talent in depicting her subjects with a particular sensitivity and empathy such as in the intimate portraits of her two young sons, Bartholomew and Charles, found in Tate Britain, London and in her own self portrait in the National Portrait Gallery, London. She died in Pall Mall and was buried in St James's London in October 1699.
You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in our emails.
British and European paintings and sculpture from the 16th To 19th century