A Space of Their Own

Joan Carlile

ca. 1606 – 1679

Active in: England
Alternate names: Joan Palmer


Joan Carlile, a British portrait painter, was born around 1606. She was one of the first women in England to make a career as a professional artist. In 1626, she married the poet Lodowick Carlile and the couple lived primarily in London. Beginning in the 1640s, Carlile began to make a name for herself as a portraitist. Few of her works survive. She died in 1679.

Selected Works


Barber, Tabitha. “Joan Carlile: Portrait of an Unknown Lady.” https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/carlile-portrait-of-an-unknown-lady-t14495.

Burnette, Arianne. “Joan Carlile.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 2004/2010. https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/4681.

Buckeridge, B. “Essay towards an English School of Painters.” In The Art of Painting. Edited by R. De Piles. London, 1754.

“Carlile [née Palmer], Joan.” Oxford Art Online. https://doi-org.proxyiub.uits.iu.edu/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T014104.

Draper, Helen. “Mary Beale and Art’s Lost Laborers: Women Painter Sisters.” Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal 10 (2015): 141–51.

Fine, Elsa Honig. Women & Art: A History of Women Painters and Sculptors from the Renaissance to the 20th Century. London: Allanheld & Schram, 1978.

Greer, Germaine. The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1979.

Sawer, Patrick. “Typical! How Britain’s First Professional Female Artist Was Assumed to Be a Man.” The Telegraph, September 21, 2016. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/21/typical-how-britains-first-professional-female-artist-was-mistak/.

Talley, M. K. Portrait Painting in England: Studies in the Technical Literature before 1700. London, 1981.

Toynbee, Margaret. “Joan Carlile: Some Further Attributions.” The Connoisseur (1971): 186–88.

Toynbee, Margaret. “Joan Carlile: An Additional Note.” Burlington Magazine 100 (1958): 319.

Toynbee, M., and G. Isham. “Joan Carlile (1606?–1679): An Identification.” Burlington Magazine 96 (1954): 273–77.