14 of 44 portraits of Francis Bacon
by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, January 1960
7 3/8 in. x 7 1/2 in. (188 mm x 190 mm)
Accepted in lieu of tax by H.M. Government and allocated to the Gallery, 1991
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Artistback to top
- Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer. Artist associated with 1088 portraits, Sitter associated with 354 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This portrait is part of a series showing Bacon in his studio at Overstrand Mansions in Battersea, where Bacon would wipe his paint-spattered hands on the curtains. Bacon had begun a portrait of Beaton in 1957. It took over two years to complete, and it may be that this photograph was taken during a later sitting. When the portrait was completed Beaton was shocked and disappointed at his portrayal 'the hands were clasped and consisted of emerald green scratches that resembled claws'. Realising Beaton's reaction, Bacon swiftly destroyed the picture with great good-humour.
Placesback to top
- Place made and portrayed: United Kingdom: England, London (sitter's studio, Overstrand Mansions, Battersea, London)
Events of 1960back to top
Current affairsPrince Andrew is born, the third child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.The Contraceptive Pill is introduced in England, dramatically changing the nation's approach to sex and relationships, and significantly contributing to the 1960s culture of liberation.
Art and sciencePenguin books defend D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover against charges of obscenity by demonstrating that the novel was of literary merit. The 'not guilty' verdict was seen as a victory for free speech and marked the beginning if a new era of liberalism.The satirical review Beyond the Fringe launches the careers of Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller.
InternationalHarold Macmillan delivers his 'wind of change' speech to the South African Parliament in Cape Town, announcing Britain's decision to grant independence to many of her colonies. The speech recognised the emergence of African nationalism, and criticised the policy of Apartheid in South Africa.
Exhibitions and displays
- A Century of Photography, 1840-1940
Until 1 October
- Portrait of the Day: William John Christopher Vassall
6 April, 12:30