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9 July 2019


Mary Beale (1633-99) painted The Young Bacchus in the 1660s, it’s normally at Moyses Hall Museum, Bury St Edmunds. Mary Beale was born in Barrow, near Bury St. Edmunds. Although the historian George Vertue suggests she was a pupil of Sir Peter Lely, in fact her early training is unknown. By 1670 she was established in Pall Mall as a professional portrait painter, rising to the peak of her success in 1677. She was able to adapt to the change of fashion in portraiture after the sudden death of Lely in 1680. Early on she realised that the way to professional success and yet to stay respectable was to paint clergymen (she was the daughter of a Puritan rector). Her devoted husband acted as her colour man and managed her studio

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