What's On

Observations - The Mary Beale Collection

Observations - The Mary Beale Collection
Start Date: 7 January 2022
Start Time: See Museum Opening Times
End Date: 30 January 2022

Moyse's Hall Museum, Cornhill, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1DX

Since Richard Jeffree and Elizabeth Walsh’s exhibition ‘The Excellent Mrs Mary Beale in 1976 and Tabitha Barber’s exhibition at the Geffrye Museum in 1999, 17th Century artist, Mary Beale’s star has been rising and today is very definitely prominent in the firmament. In 1991 Jeffree sadly passed away, but generously bequeathed 16 of his paintings to our West Suffolk Heritage Service. These have been augmented with further examples, making West Suffolk heritage Service one of the largest repositories of Mary Beale portraits of any public institution. 

This exhibition will be the first time Moyse’s hall celebrates en masse this collection with over 25 of Mary’s original portraits of the great and good (or questionable) of 17th Century England. The Museum has has one of the largest collections of her portraits in the world!

Mary was born in 1633, the daughter of John Craddock the rector of Barrow, just over 5 miles outside of Bury St Edmunds. His undoubted tuition and sharing of his interests in art would lead her to pursuit her own career as a professional portrait artist. Whilst perhaps surprising to contemporary readers to imagine a professional female in the 1600s, she was not unique, however, the assistance of her Husband Charles and his connections, and the involvement of the entire household, meant that Mary would become one of the most eminent artists of 17th Century England with a studio on the Mall.

Moyse’s Hall invites all with a love of fine art to come and enjoy the collection but hopes to attract and engage many more with curiosities and loans that highlight a turbulent century of events that would spark the Enlightment of later decades.

The exhibition will run from 21st October 2021-January 30th, 2022, with a standard admission of £5 per adult, £4.50 concession(60+/student) and £3 for children. Book your tickets at the website above.

Heritage Ticket holders can attend the exhibition free of charge.

During the exhibition several specialist speakers/ authors will be giving talks at the Museum. Visit https://www.moyseshall.org/whats-on/ for details of these talks.

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