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8 July 2019


An exhibition finished last week at a gallery in London (Lyon and Turnbull) called Bright Souls: The Forgotten Story of Britain’s First Female Artists. It featured three artists – Joan Carlile, Mary Beale and Anne Killigrew. None of them had the advantage of a professional artist in their family and how they learnt to paint is not clear. But what extraordinary paintings! This is a self-portrait by Anne Killigrew (1660-85), normally at Berkeley Castle. Anne Killigrew’s death at the age of 25 prompted the then Poet Laureate John Dryden to write: ‘Still with a greater blaze she shone, And her bright soul broke out on ev’ry side.’

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