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Bartholomew Beale

As a child, Bartholomew Beale assisted his mother Mary Beale in her studio. It was expected that he too would become a painter. The bust upon which Bartholomew rests his hand in this portrait probably alludes to this. It appears to represent the ancient Greek poet, Homer. Blind and impoverished, Homer had long been considered the embodiment of artistic integrity, because he was true to his genius and did not seek to gain wealth from his art. As such, Homer would have acted as the perfect model for an aspiring young artist. Yet Bartholomew followed a different path and in 1680 entered Clare College, Cambridge to study medicine. In 1687, he settled in Coventry to practise as a physician until his untimely death in 1698.

Currently on display

Sir Peter Lely
Gallery 10
91.5 x 76.2 cm
Oil on canvas
Signed in monograph lower left: PL
Purchased by Dulwich Picture Gallery with funds given by the Art Fund, The Monument Trust, MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, Hamish Parker, Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery, The Idlewild Trust and other donors, 2010
Accession number