The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Mary Beale

Mary Beale, by Mary Beale, circa 1666 -NPG 1687 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Mary Beale

by Mary Beale
circa 1666
43 in. x 34 1/2 in. (1092 mm x 876 mm)
NPG 1687

Inscriptionback to top

Anon. sale, Christie’s, 22 November 1912, lot 135, bought Leger for the NPG.

This portraitback to top

Mary Beale shows herself as artist and mother; her palette hangs on the wall and her right hand supports a small canvas showing unfinished portraits of her two sons, Bartholomew (1656-1705) and Charles (1660-1714?). Their apparent ages allow the canvas to be dated c.1666, when the Beales were living at Albrook in Hampshire. Plausibly considered to be the companion to Mary Beale’s portrait of her husband Charles (of the same unusual canvas size), now with the St Edmondsbury Borough Council (see Charles Beale c.1666). Together the two canvases show the complete young family.

Referenceback to top

Jeffree 1975-76
R. Jeffree, ‘The Excellent Mrs Mary Beale’, exhibition catalogue, Geffrye Museum, London, and Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, 1975-76, p 68, no.7.

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, pp 23-24.

Exhibitionsback to top

‘The Excellent Mrs Mary Beale’, Geffrye Museum, London, and Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, 1975–76, no.4 as c.1666; Five hundred years of Women’s Art, Nottingham, 1982, no.2; Images of Women, Leeds, 1989-90, no.3; Gawthorpe Hall, Lancs., 1987-98; Mary Beale, Geffrye Museum, London, 1999–2000, no.4 as c.1665–66; Mirror, Mirror, Self Portraits by Women Artists, NPG, 2001–02; A Window in the 17th century, Sheffield, 2008.


This extended catalogue entry is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Later Stuart Portraits 1685–1714, National Portrait Gallery, 2009, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

View all known portraits for Mary Beale

Visit From Your Armchair

Self-portrait as My Father from the series Encounter  by Silvia Rosi © Silvia Rosi

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.

Visit now

Hold Still

Hold Still

Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.

Explore the exhibition

Margaret Thatcher by Spitting Images Productions Ltd painted plastic, 1985

Sculptures in 360°

See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.

View the 360s

David Hockney: Drawing from Life

Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.

See the video