Tate Acquires Re-Discovered Work of First British Woman to Work as an Artist

Portrait of an Unknown Lady 1650-5 Joan Carlile circa 1606-1679 Presented by Tate Patrons 2016 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T14495

Score one for Bendor Grosvenor who found this work by Joan Carlile, the first woman known to be a professional painter in England at a Salisbury auction. Portrait of an Unknown Lady was clearly Carlile’s work to Grosvenor. Now that he’s made the case, the Tate has bought it for £35,000:

“When it was listed for auction the painting was thought to have been by a bloke, but I recognised it as Carlile’s from the sale notice as her style is quite recognisable if you know what it looks like.”

The Tate says the story behind Carlile’s recently discovered painting is indicative of the lack of recognition enjoyed by female artists down the ages.

Tabitha Barber, the Tate’s curator of 16th and 17th Century art, said: “Joan Carlile is of major historic significance as one of the first British women to work as a professional painter. This rare work is now the earliest in our collection by a woman artist.