CHARLES BEALE II (1660-1714), PORTRAIT OF A MAN, 1684, OIL ON CANVAS, 65X63CM
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Charles Beale II (1660-1714), Portrait of a Man, 1684, oil on canvas, 65x63cm
Dating to 1684, the featured portrait is by Charles Beale, who hailed from a family of painters. Both his maternal grandfather and his father were amateur painters, and his mother, Mary Beale (1633-1699), was the most prominent and prolific female portrait painter in England in the 17th century. Her close circle of friends was made up of a number of illustrious personages, including Sir Peter Lely, who was the court painter of King Charles II. Lely's stylistic influence is evident in Mary's work, and it is believed that he passed on portrait commissions he did not want to carry out himself. She was also one of his most sought after copyists.
Charles Beale was, along with his brother Bartholomew, an assistant in his mother's studio, where they painted cartouches and finished off the drapery in her portraits. Their father, also named Charles, managed the accounts and kept detailed notebooks of Mary's output, revealing that the studio was indeed a family workshop. Charles senior even primed Mary's canvases and provided her with pigments and materials.
Charles Beale II went on to have a successful career of his own, and is even known for his portrait miniatures. He also produced a number of remarkable red-chalk studies of family members and friends, which are among some of his most accomplished works.