Dulwich Picture Gallery Acquires Portrait of Bartholemew Beale

In time for its 2011 Bicentenary year, Dulwich Picture Gallery announce its acquisition of the portrait of Bartholomew Beale by Sir Peter Lely. The portrait is now reunited with its counterpart, Sir Peter Lely’s A Boy as a Shepherd, one of the most popular paintings in the Gallery’s permanent collection.

Portrait of Bartholemew Beale by Sir Peter Lely, Dulwich Picture Gallery

Arturo & Holly Melosi Chief Curator Dr. Xavier Salomon knew of the portrait’s existence and he saw it at the London dealer Simon Dickinson Ltd. He was already aware of its link to the Gallery’s A Boy as a Shepherd, which was given to the Gallery at its Centenary in 1911 by benefactor Charles Fairfax Murray as part of a donation of 40 paintings, which includes the Gallery’s small but outstanding group of four paintings by Sir Peter Lely. Murray had once owned both portraits and they have spectacular matching frames. Bartholomew Beale had already been sold to a private collector by 1911, so it did not arrive at the Gallery along with its companion. It remained in private hands until it was purchased by Simon Dickinson Ltd. in January 2009.

It is particularly fitting that Bartholomew Beale joins the collection in time for the Gallery’s 2011 Bicentenary, as A Boy as a Shepherd was a centenary gift in 1911. The latter received a complete conservation in 2008 and was unveiled for the Gallery’s 2009 exhibition Best of British.

The pair of Lely portraits are now as part of a special display in Gallery 11 until the end of 2011. – www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk

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