This portrait of a gentleman bears a close resemblance to Charles Beale, husband of the artist Mary Beale. Charles devoted himself to organizing and running the busy studio in which his wife painted; a job he performed for over twenty years. Painted by another female artist, Susannah-Penelope Rosse was likely well acquainted with the Beales, with whom she shared many sitters. The Rosse and Beale families (from 1652-8) both lived for some time in Covent Garden, a mixed community which included a large number of painters, framers and colourmen. Rosse was the daughter of Richard Gibson (1615-1690, also known as ‘dwarf’ Gibson), and grew up in this community, moving with her husband to the north side of Long Acre around the time the present portrait was painted. Two or three years later, she seems to have moved to Samuel Cooper’s old residence in Henrietta Street. Another connection was Thomas Flatman (d.1688), a miniature painter who taught the Beale’s son to...

Read more

This portrait of a gentleman bears a close resemblance to Charles Beale, husband of the artist Mary Beale. Charles devoted himself to organizing and running the busy studio in which his wife painted; a job he performed for over twenty years. Painted by another female artist, Susannah-Penelope Rosse was likely well acquainted with the Beales, with whom she shared many sitters. The Rosse and Beale families (from 1652-8) both lived for some time in Covent Garden, a mixed community which included a large number of painters, framers and colourmen. Rosse was the daughter of Richard Gibson (1615-1690, also known as ‘dwarf’ Gibson), and grew up in this community, moving with her husband to the north side of Long Acre around the time the present portrait was painted. Two or three years later, she seems to have moved to Samuel Cooper’s old residence in Henrietta Street. Another connection was Thomas Flatman (d.1688), a miniature painter who taught the Beale’s son to paint.

By 1670/1, Mary Beale had opened a professional studio in Pall Mall, run by her husband Charles. Alongside her commissioned portraits, Mary also painted her husband (see her portraits of him in the National Portrait Gallery NPG 1279 and West Suffolk Heritage Service 1993.32). Often portrayed in the same brown coat and open-necked chemise, as seen here, he kept meticulous notes of their daily life in a diary. Susannah-Penelope and her husband Michael, like the Beales, also worked as a professional team. After growing up in Covent Garden near the Beales, Michael worked as jeweller to the crown, presumably framing many of his wife’s miniatures. Moreover, Susannah-Penelope copied some of Mary Beale’s portraits into miniatures, including a portrait of the poet Elizabeth Singer Rowe (1674-1737). Although the present work does not correspond exactly to any known portraits of Charles by his wife, it has the same relaxed manner of many portraits of him, including the open-necked shirt. It may have been painted early in Rosse’s career, as she was thought to have copied Samuel Cooper to learn miniature painting. It seems she may have furthered her abilities through her observation of Beale’s studio in Pall Mall.[1]

The present work is of great importance when evaluating both the artistic practices, as well as artistic communities, of portrait miniature painters in seventeenth-century England. Previously thought to be by Samuel Cooper, its relatively recent reemergence as a work by Susannah Penelope Rosse has greatly aided the understanding of her work and her association with Cooper and his circle.

[1] Rosse is known for her exquisite copies of portraits by Cooper, George Vertue quoting: ‘as by these may bee seen; nobody ever copy’d him better’ (Vertue I, p.116).

Related artworks

Previous
Next
£ 8,500.00
Gerald Leslie Brockhurst
£ 8,500
£ 7,250.00
Ambrose McEvoy ARA
£ 7,250
£ 9,000.00
Ambrose McEvoy ARA
£ 9,000
£6,600.00
Lorna May Wadsworth
£6,600
£ 5,500.00
Ambrose McEvoy ARA
£ 5,500
£ 9,000.00
Ambrose McEvoy ARA
£ 9,000

Receive information about exhibitions, news & events.

We will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in any emails.
Close

Basket

No items found
Close

Your saved list

This list allows you to enquire about a group of works.
No items found
Close
Mailing list signup

Get exclusive updates from Philip Mould Gallery

Close

Sign up for updates

Artwork enquiry

Receive newsletters

In order to respond to your enquiry, we will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in any emails.

Close
Search
Close
Close
500 Years of British Art