Mary Cradock, the daughter of a rector, was born in Barrow, Suffolk, on 26th March, 1633. When she was eighteen she married Charles Beale. After studying under Robert Walker, she became a portrait painter.
Mary Beale, who was influenced by the work of Peter Lely, became one of the most important portrait painters of the 17th Century. Her son, Charles Beale, also became a painter.
Mary Beale died in 1699.