Mary Beale (Mary Beale)

Mary Beale

Artist. Famed British portrait painter and is regarded as Britain’s first professional female artist. Born Mary Cradock in Suffolk, Mary Beale was one of the very few women artists working in England during the seventeenth century. Mary Beale’s mother died when she was young, her father, who knew the artist Robert Walker, introduced her to painting. In 1652 she married Charles Beale, who was an amateur painter. Around 1654 they were in London, where Mary embarked on a semi-professional career as a portrait painter. In 1670 Mary established a studio in Pall Mall and became friends with Sir Peter Lely, who was court painter to Charles II. Her husband ¬≠was her assistant, mixing paint and keeping the notebooks containing details of her accounts and sittings. Following Lely’s death in 1680, his style of portraiture became outmoded and work was scarce to come by. Mary Beale worked until her death at the age of sixty-six. Her tomb was destroyed by World War II air raids but this plaque was erected within the church. (bio by: Kieran Smith)


  • March, 26, 1633
  • England


  • January, 01, 1970
  • England


  • St James Church
  • England

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