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Fruit of Friendship: Portraits by Mary Beale

Fruit of Friendship: Portraits by Mary Beale


Accompanying a major exhibition at Philip Mould & Company, Fruit of Friendship: Portraits by Mary Beale presents the work of the remarkable sevenenteenth-century woman artist.


Mary Beale (1633–1699) was Britain’s first woman artist to run a successful studio practice. In an era when the arts in Britain were flourishing and portraitists were in high demand, Beale established a unique practice that set her apart from her competitors and brought her great acclaim.


Friendship and family played a crucial role in Beale’s success. She was the figurehead of her family and studio, while her husband dedicated himself to supporting the business, often preparing paints and canvasses. Beale’s portraits, many of which are illustrated here for the first time, build a picture of a talented and multi-faceted woman – artist, writer, businesswoman, mother and friend.


The title of this publication and of the accompanying exhibition is drawn from Beale’s own writings, and the materials presented span her entire career. Featuring essays by leading scholars, the catalogue introduces a number of recently discovered portraits by Beale and showcases several important works that have never been publicly displayed before.


We have had the good fortune to have uncovered a considerable number of Mary Beale’s lost paintings over the last forty years, and it felt timely to celebrate her career with a fresh look at her works in response to greatly increased scholarship and interest in women’s art history. Her story is inspirational.’ —Philip Mould

  • By Ellie Smith and Lawrence Hendra

    Hardback, 250 x 190 mm

    160 pp., approx 45 illustrations

    ISBN: 978-1-913645-74-8

  • Exhibition Details

    Philip Mould, London

    25 April – 19 July 2024

  • About the Authors

    Philip Mould is is a London-based art dealer with a gallery in Pall Mall specialising in 500 years of British art.

    Lawrence Hendra is a Director of Philip Mould & Company in London who specialises in British art from the Tudor period to the present day with a particular focus on portraiture.

    Ellie Smith is a researcher and curator specialising in British women artists.

    Valeria Vallucci is a researcher at Philip Mould & Company specialising in provenance and Old Masters from 17th century to early 19th century.

    Tabitha Barber is Curator of British Art, 1500–1750, at Tate Britain.

    Helen Draper is a professional easel paintings conservator, art historian specialising in 17th-century British portraiture and expert on Mary Beale.

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