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Francis Bacon

1 portrait of Francis Bacon

© The Jane Bown Literary Estate/ National Portrait Gallery, London

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Francis Bacon

by Jane Bown
bromide print on card mount, 1983
13 7/8 in. x 19 3/4 in. (351 mm x 503 mm)
Given by Jane Bown and The Observer, 1981 in conjunction with the exhibition 'The Gentle Eye: Photographs by Jane Bown of The Observer'
Photographs Collection
NPG x126934

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Jane Bown (1925-2014), Photographer. Artist associated with 73 portraits, Sitter in 7 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Many of the best photographs of Bacon have been the result of chance. The photographer Jane Bown had been photographing Bacon at Reece Mews in South Kensington. He had been posed in front of the large round mirror in his studio, surrounded by paints and brushes. Bown recalls feeling slightly dissatisfied with these pictures. When the session was finished, Bacon escorted Bown down from his studio to say goodbye, 'he leant on the stable-door, and there it was!'. There was a beautiful light, and Bown seized the opportunity to take one final shot of the artist. This portrait was shown in an exhibition of images of artists at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, and published in the Observer newspaper.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Bown, Jane, Exposures, 2009, p. 48

Placesback to top

Events of 1983back to top

Current affairs

Margaret Thatcher wins a landslide majority for the Conservative Party at the general election. Although her premiership had previously been unpopular, the British victory in the Falklands coupled with divisions in Michael Foot's Labour opposition, helped her to gain popularity and win the most decisive election victory since 1945.

Art and science

The British sitcom Blackadder is aired for the first time. Each of the four series followed the character of the anti-hero Edmund Blackadder and took place during a different period of British history. The first series, The Black Adder, was a satire of medieval England during the rein of the fictitious Richard IV, and frequently lifted famous lines from Shakespeare.

International

The armed struggle between Tamil militants and the Sinhalese-dominated government of Sri Lanka begin with the Black July pogrom. Mobs (allegedly supported by the government) started attacking and murdering Tamils following an attack by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on government soldiers. Civil war between the government and Tamil nationalists has continued sporadically ever since.

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