14 of 43 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 1078 portraits, Sitter associated with 347 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.
Exhibitions and displays
- Photograph of the Month
Until 31 August
- Lunchtime Lecture: 'Something of me’ – Portraits of Cecil Beaton
20 November, 13:15