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Francis Bacon's Portraits


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This is an open invitation to anyone who has any comments, criticism and/or information regarding any of the images in the "Francis Bacon's Portraits from Life" gallery. Art historians with a special interest in Elizabethan and Jacobean portraiture are especially encouraged to shed more light on the dates, artists and provenances of the pictures in the gallery. As national (and international) art treasures, these portraits deserve to be thoroughly researched and appreciated as widely as possible.

Edited by Eric Roberts
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Hi Eric,

Welcome to the B'Hive Community.🙂

 Eric's "Francis Bacon's Portraits from Life" is a great Youtube video looking at all the contemporary portraits of Francis Bacon. (see below)

Eric there is a very interesting and rare engraving that Julie Kemp from Australia recently discovered that may be of interest, details are on this thread if you would like to take a look https://sirbacon.org/bacon-forum/index.php?/topic/84-portraits-and-engravings-of-francis-bacon/#comment-405

 

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Here is a link to the image in Eric's gallery.

https://sirbacon.org/bacons-portraits-from-life-image-7/

From his extensive research, this is what he wrote:

Although damaged and discoloured, this is perhaps the most accomplished of all the portraits we have of Sir Francis Bacon. Art historians have yet to identify the artist who painted it. Moreover, Art UK, Alamy and Wikimedia all assert that it dates from c.1590, which is clearly impossible. Francis is wearing the robe of the Lord High Chancellor while holding the purse of the Great Seal in his left hand, so the picture must date from between 1618-21.

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I wonder if that is the original cover? I have a 1625 copy of the Essays, but the cover is missing.

Were they embroidering book covers in 1625? Pretty fancy work.

EDIT: Found the answer:

https://publicdomainreview.org/essay/pens-and-needles-reviving-book-embroidery-in-victorian-england

Edited by Light-of-Truth
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🤔 Hmm, in that book it says: 

“Initially a sixteenth- and seventeenth-century practice of decorative embroidery on religious texts or presentation copies for royalty”

Which makes you wonder if the crown is because it was a presentation copy or a ‘double truth’ 

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Front cover Bacon is facing the right, on the back cover facing left. Janus?

His medal is hid which is curious.

https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/17bb6fc3-3d6f-4ed2-a525-198f7b26ac9d/surfaces/c24911b8-77b1-404f-ab6b-aba3f47f70e9/

image.thumb.png.99b364a0949fcb0e372ab579b85c3078.png

Rights

Copyright holder
Photo: © Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
Terms of Use
Terms of use: CC-BY-NC 4.0. For more information, please see https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/terms/

Digitization information

Date added to Digital Bodleian
01/08/2018
Project
Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript Illumination (from 35mm)

Permitted use of the content

The Bodleian Libraries wish to encourage wide engagement and reuse of collections for the purposes of private study, research, teaching, and educational instruction. This means that, unless indicated otherwise in an individual item's terms of use, users can reuse Digital Bodleian images in the following ways:

  • Academic and research-orientated websites (including institutional/subject repositories and pre-print servers), apps, blogs and social media channels that are not linked to the promotion of any commercial activity
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And then there is this little known, never talked about drawing by Willy Shakspur. We have no letters or manuscripts in Willy's hand, and only a handful of real signatures, but we have this drawing of Bacon he did late in his life, 1614 I think, with one more of his signatures to add to the collection:

image.thumb.png.b25c4db77af88d88fc930ac1cf9b2c54.png

😉

 

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On the image of Bacon above that I don't remember ever seeing, I found this info that would put in Bacon's life:

https://www.bidsquare.com/online-auctions/grogan/manner-of-paul-van-somer-belgian-1576-1621-portrait-of-sir-francis-bacon-oil-on-canvas-36-1-2-x-31-1-2-in-frame-42-3-4-x-37-3-4-in-2531665

Manner of PAUL VAN SOMER, (Belgian, 1576-1621), Portrait of Sir Francis Bacon, oil on canvas, 36 1/2 x 31 1/2 in., frame: 42 3/4 x 37 3/4 in.

Manner of PAUL VAN SOMER
(Belgian, 1576-1621)
Portrait of Sir Francis Bacon
oil on canvas
inscribed L. Chanceller Bacon upper left
36 1/2 x 31 1/2 in., frame: 42 3/4 x 37 3/4 in.
Provenance: The Collection of Judge Samuel Seabury (1873-1958); by descent within his family.
Judge Samuel Seabury had a large collection of portraits of notable legal and historical figures, displaying the works in the two-story library of his East Hampton, New York estate.

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13 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

And then there is this little known, never talked about drawing by Willy Shakspur. We have no letters or manuscripts in Willy's hand, and only a handful of real signatures, but we have this drawing of Bacon he did late in his life, 1614 I think, with one more of his signatures to add to the collection:

image.thumb.png.b25c4db77af88d88fc930ac1cf9b2c54.png

😉

 

A contender for First Prize in the Anti-Stratfordian Cartoon Competition. Deliciously wicked sense of humour. Any more like this?

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I think you just named a new forum topic for us. I know Lawrence would enjoy.

It was scary for me to post this; off-topic, could really make some powerful people and/or entities very mad. But I had to do it with all risks involved.

The hardest part was using the brush tool to sign Willy's name as bad as he signed his name.

EDIT: New Topic

 

Edited by Light-of-Truth
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14 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

I just came across this image I've never noticed before:

https://www.mutualart.com/Artwork/Portrait-of-Sir-Francis-Bacon/A0F088017B1698ED92D3FFCB35B4B074

I don't know the date, but I still should have seen it by now.

image.thumb.png.e5189f110a31706014d48b46204784a4.png

 

 

This reputed portrait of Francis had also escaped my attention. A few observations: (1) the description "in the manner of Paul van Somer" seems gratuitous as it in no way resembles the work of that artist; (2) the hat is unlike any of Francis's hats in the other portraits; (3) the purse of the Lord Keeper's Seal is different to the one that appears in several of the portraits in the gallery on this site (see attached); (4) none of the other portraits show Francis with a greying beard; (5) the style of ruff resembles the one Francis is wearing in the 1578 Hilliard miniature, but is unlike those in any of the later portraits; (6) the medallion appears to be blank; (7) facially, there is a passing resemblance to the other portraits, but the mouth is wrong. Nevertheless, it would be wonderful to know when the picture was painted and by whom. Thanks so much for posting!

 

 

Detail-Gorhambury-Somer-1618.jpg

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What I have found with a similar ruff is this one, late 1880's to early 1900's:

https://www.lookandlearn.com/history-images/XD151566/Sir-Francis-Bacon-English-philosopher-and-author

image.thumb.png.22fb9169abc14eb258e59875a737950b.png

I would like to think we have a contemporary painting or anything with Bacon and greying hair/beard. Wish as one may wish.

I definitely noticed the blank medallion. Strange.

The painting did not sell in the auction for what it would be worth if it was from Bacon's lifetime, so it is not from his lifetime.

EDIT: I just noticed I must have been the 157th person to view this image (see bottom "Views").

🙂

 

Edited by Light-of-Truth
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18 hours ago, Kate Cassidy said:

Welcome Eric, great to have new people contributing to the forum. I’ll share your video. There’s a synchronicity to this too as late last night I was looking at this. It’s dated 1625 and is the cover of Essays.

85C30FDD-D64F-4BAD-AE95-EA6717E7D168.thumb.jpeg.cb0da97be67f070f6cc1fe26a7f24f0d.jpeg

Hi Kate. Thank you for the welcome, and thanks also for this enchanting hand-stitched portrait of FB. There is a naivety in the face, but also reverence... almost saintliness.

How endearing - a shrine to the author on the cover of one of his books.

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1 hour ago, Lawrence Gerald said:

The Bacon Red Beard, Essex had red hair and of course so did their Mommy Dearest.

image.png.610bc9f99cd8dbcd39f54e533926690b.png

Queen ELizabeth I (1562) - Detail

Photograph by courtesy of BONHAMS

image.png.0e829787ee768af2451801c6204ce361.png

Queen Elizabeth I ( 1562 ) - Detail

Photograph by courtesy from BONHAMS

Notice the "Apple" on the left and could it be the word "Mum" ? 😉

image.thumb.png.b69a2efc9aacc0ce6b465ed4b7e3529e.png

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mum

 

QUEEN ELIZABETH I , THE SECRET MOTHER OF FRANCIS BACON

 

 

Edited by Allisnum2er
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Posted (edited)
On 4/6/2022 at 9:19 PM, Light-of-Truth said:

I just came across this image I've never noticed before:

https://www.mutualart.com/Artwork/Portrait-of-Sir-Francis-Bacon/A0F088017B1698ED92D3FFCB35B4B074

I don't know the date, but I still should have seen it by now.

image.thumb.png.e5189f110a31706014d48b46204784a4.png

 

 

Here is an image of a painting of Francis sent to me by the Curator of Rare Books and University Art at the Senate House Library, University of London. The only information she could give me was as follows: "The portrait is one of a pair of portraits of the 17th-century English school; the other portrait is of Thomas Egerton, Baron Ellesmere and Viscount Brackley. The portraits were purchased 1965 from Christie, Manson and Woods, for 18 guineas, through the good offices of the National Portrait Gallery."

So it is undated and the artist is unknown. As you can see, the faces in these two portraits are much the same, although the ruff is different. 

 

 

image.png

Edited by Eric Roberts
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