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Oil painting - Portrait of a Baby
  • Portrait of a Baby
    Beale, Mary, born 1633 - died 1699
  • Enlarge image

Portrait of a Baby

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (made)

  • Date:

    1690-1730 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Beale, Mary, born 1633 - died 1699 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on canvas

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This portrait shows a baby alone and in close-up, propped against white pillows between curtains of dark blue satin. It is unusual in Britain in the 18th century to find a portrait of a baby by itself. Babies are more often shown as part of a family group. Single portraits exist of babies who had died, but they are usually shown in burial clothes. Here the emphasis is on the strong and healthy appearance of the child, who was perhaps the artist’s own.

Physical description

Portrait of a baby, in oil colour on canvas, of portrait proportions. The baby is portrayed alone and in close-up, sitting propped against white pillows between curtains of dark blue satin (presumably on a bed). He or she wears a high-necked white garment with long full sleeves
gathered into a frill at the wrist, and a close-fitting cap of white fabric trimmed with lace and a band of pale pink ribbon. The frame is of gessoed and gilded wood, decorated with arabesque forms and grotesque masks.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (made)


1690-1730 (made)


Beale, Mary, born 1633 - died 1699 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

oil on canvas


Height: 77.5 cm canvas, Width: 65 cm canvas, Height: 95.8 cm frame, Width: 81.5 cm frame

Object history note

Bought at Phillips' sale of British & Victorian Paintings, 13/12/1994

Descriptive line

Portrait of a baby painted in the UK by an artist of the circle of Mary Beale, probably in the 18th century

Production Note

Attributed to the Circle of Mary Beale (1632-1697)


Oil colour; Canvas

Subjects depicted



Children & Childhood; Paintings


Museum of Childhood

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