Explore the enigmatic portraits of one of the most successful portrait painters of the late-17th century, who achieved astronomical success as a woman in a fiercely male dominated art world.
Mary Beale was part of a small group of women artists who managed to achieve professional artist status during the 17th century and went on to become one of the most eminent artists working in England at the time. The exhibition tells the story of how she and her family reversed the societal norms enforced by the patriarchy, catapulting her to success in the commercial art world.
Over 25 of her original portraits will be on display close to where she was born in 1633, just outside of Bury St Edmonds. Her work charts the exemplary level of her skill as a portrait painter, following her career as it developed through the devastating events of the 17th century, from the aftermath of England’s Civil War to the outbreak of the Bubonic plague.