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Mary Beale


03/26/1633 - 10/08/1699


Mary Beale was a prolific portrait painter in Baroque-era England. She is known for being the first female artist in England to fully support herself and her family with her work. Her father was a member of the Painter-Stainers’ Company and helped Beale learn to paint in her youth. At 18 she married Charles Beale, and when he lost his job in 1665, Mary would turn to paint as a professional full-time. Beale was respected among London’s elite artists, scientists, clergy, and nobles, and they became her primary clientele. Charles dedicated himself to documenting Mary’s technique, process, and clients, while she became an astute businesswoman and artist. She eventually opened her own studio where she took on students. For a woman at the time to not only be a successful professional artist but to take on students, was unimaginable in the male dominating field.

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