NARRATOR: The three paintings on the wall in front of you are by an exceptional artist -exceptional in that she was woman. In the seventeenth century, women artists were a rarity. Curator Tim Batchelor. TIM BATCHELOR: Mary Beale could be considered as the first professional female artist active in Britain. This is a real family affair, her husband Charles primed the canvases, mixed the pigments and took care of all the accounts. Her children, Charles and Bartholomew, also acted as assistants. NARRATOR: Take a closer look at the top painting. TIM BATCHELOR: This painting of a young girl was an attempt to paint quickly and to paint in a fashion that would be all in one go and dry quickly and be a resolved picture. The attempt didn’t quite work and we can see from the painting here that she had to go back and retouch the painting. NARRATOR: Now look at the bottom two works. TIM BATCHELOR: These two small sketches on paper are Mary Beale's children, who she often painted. We don’t know if they were produced as studies for a larger, more finished, painting or if they were just simply studies for her own pleasure. The two paintings emerged on the French art market fairly recently and were previously unknown. The paintings were subsequently acquired by the Tate and are shown here for the first time to the public.