Scottish auction house Lyon & Turnbull is mounting an exhibition at its London showrooms on Connaught Street starting Monday, June 24th that brings back to public attention three early female British artists. Bendor Grosvenor, an advisor to Lyon & Turnbull and the host of Britain’s Lost Masterpieces, organized the show.
Lyon & Turnbull’s new Head of British & European Art, Rohan McCulloch, has been working with Bendor Grosvenor to present “Bright Souls” The Forgotten Story of Britain’s First Female Artists, an exhibition presenting the lost art and forgotten story of Britain’s pioneering female painters.
For the first time ever, we will bring together the work of the 17th Century artists Joan Carlile, Mary Beale, and Anne Killigrew. Previously, their stories have faded from view in the broad sweep of British art history, with many of their works being attributed to male artists such as Sir Peter Lely. But all three artists were well known to contemporaries: Carlile as the first professional female British artist; Beale as the most successful; and Killigrew, dying of smallpox at the age of just 23 as the most tragic.
Killigrew’s death prompted the then Poet Laureate John Dryden to hope that her legacy would nevertheless live on, writing, “Still with a greater blaze she shone, And her bright soul broke out on ev’ry side.’” Our new exhibition will now not only reveal new light on the careers of Carlile, Beale and Killigrew, but will also unveil a number of hitherto lost works.