Richard Jeffree, art research papers

Scope and Content

Jeffree's research material consists of 211 files of notes, drafts of articles and lectures, photographs, slides, photocopies of articles and correspondence and 2 card indexes of sitters. Relates mainly to the portrait painter Mary Beale (1633-1699) and her family but includes material about other artists, much of which relates to Jeffree's entries for the Macmillan Dictionary of Art.

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Jeffree (1930-1991) worked as a partner in a firm specialising in interior design and fine textiles from 1968 until his death. He became interested in Mary Beale (1633-1699) after reading an article published by the 'The Connoisseur' in 1953 - 'Mrs Mary Beale Paintress' by Elizabeth Walsh. Jeffree later collaborated with Walsh on an intensive study of Beale's work, which resulted in the exhibition 'The Excellent Mrs Mary Beale' that was held at the Geffrye Museum in 1975. Jeffree and Walsh also produced an accompanying catalogue, which provided a considerable body of new material about her life and career. Whilst having no formal training as an art historian Jeffree built up a specialist knowledge of late seventeenth century British art.

Jeffree was a major benefactor to Richmond Museum and shortly before his death organised an exhibition of Thomas Rowlandson's drawings and watercolours of the area. Jeffree also collected works by Mary Beale and on his death it was discovered that he had bequeathed his 14 portraits by Beale and two by her son Charles to the Manor House Museum in Bury St Edmunds.

Access Information

Available to view by appointment in the Heinz Archive and Library Public Study Room, to make an appointment contact Archive Reception . Although records are generally available for public consultation, some information in them, such as personal data or information supplied to the Gallery in confidence, may be restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Personal photography is permitted for research purposes only. Photocopying is not permitted.

Related Material

The National Portrait Gallery also holds the Diary of Charles Beale (Reference: CB)