Jump to content

Francis Bacon's Portraits


Recommended Posts

BACONIANA 33 No. 131 April 1949, pages 70-71

Written 73 years ago, this article refers to a portrait of Francis Bacon by Paul van Somer, the location of which is currently unknown. It appears to be genuine, having been authenticated by the National Portrait Gallery. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to go about tracing the whereabouts of this potentially priceless picture, please don't hesitate to leave your comments below. 

 

474383142_ALITTLEKNOWNPORTRAITOFFB1.thumb.png.9fe93d9886312effb2906572b8468fbe.png583264283_ALITTLEKNOWNPORTRAITOFFB2.thumb.png.360a6bc96b27328a596efe9edfdbac78.png2043192737_ScreenShot2022-04-09at10_43_44pm.thumb.png.630b7b14ba487f804aa65bfc0de501a7.png

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Eric

I'm afraid that my instincts are that this is a fake. The entire story Ella conveys made my 'fake' detector go off. The frame looks very new! Are you 100% sure it has been authenticated. If so I may have to eat my words, but I did a reverse search on Google and Tin Eye (nothing) and then looked online and found this link. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-7fd2-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

One of the pictures is by Van Sommer but, not the one in the bottom right. I immediately saw the similarities to the one you have posted to the one the bottom right and so copied it for the purposes of overlaying and sure enough, this (below) is what you get.

It seems that the picture above is a doctored picture of the one in the link.

The shape of the hat, the ruff, the shoulders, the clothing, the shadows/hair all fit precisely with the one I found. The only slight discrepancy is in the face and if you look at the picture  that Ella Horsey is claiming she purchased, his face has been lengthened slightly. Overall something is very odd about the face as if the outline shape has been copied and then the face blurred or stippled around the chin. If she's not spinning a yarn, she may well have purchased it believing it to be authentic, but either these are by the same artist who used one as a template for the second and slightly altered one, or it's an out and out fake - and I'd suggest a relatively new fake or facsimile, 1900s (?)

Happy to be proved wrong

To compensate for being such a terrible cynic, everyone reading should be sure to look at these 30+ pictures of FB and some of the cuttings. (Use the arrows to navigate). It's a treasure trove.

https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-7fd2-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99/book?parent=821fce80-c533-012f-f82a-58d385a7bc34#page/1/mode/2up

Kate

 

.404543651_Bacontrio.thumb.png.7b714345090a275fc893a0354174dd47.png

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Kate,

Treasure trove indeed, some great images here. The one below is particularly intriguing and we have never come across this one of FB. In fact we believed that apart from the Hilliard one, none existed of him in his youth. Are there any details at all about this image?

Great work Kate.♥️👍

 

youngbacon.png

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having worked with Eric for a while, a few months maybe, one thing I have learned is Bacon's portraits have been his passion. I also know it has not been an inexpensive passion, outside of most of our resources. But I also know he is open to opinions and new ideas (based on personal emails between us).

I see your post and am curious and eager to see what Eric says or asks.

Eric in my opinion is Baconians latest Portrait expert and it is so valuable for us that he is not a concrete hardened Baconian as we've seen him demonstrate on this forum, that he will dig into and answer what he knows or does not know. 😉

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

T A A A A A A A A A A A T
157     www.Light-of-Truth.com     287
<-- 1 8 8 1 1
O 1 1 8 8 1 -->

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Eric Roberts said:

BACONIANA 33 No. 131 April 1949, pages 70-71

Written 73 years ago, this article refers to a portrait of Francis Bacon by Paul van Somer, the location of which is currently unknown. It appears to be genuine, having been authenticated by the National Portrait Gallery. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to go about tracing the whereabouts of this potentially priceless picture, please don't hesitate to leave your comments below. 

 

474383142_ALITTLEKNOWNPORTRAITOFFB1.thumb.png.9fe93d9886312effb2906572b8468fbe.png583264283_ALITTLEKNOWNPORTRAITOFFB2.thumb.png.360a6bc96b27328a596efe9edfdbac78.png2043192737_ScreenShot2022-04-09at10_43_44pm.thumb.png.630b7b14ba487f804aa65bfc0de501a7.png

Hi Eric,

This portrait looks very much like this one ...

https://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk/explore-the-collection/401-450/francis-bacon/

Regards,

Yann

Edit :  Sorry, after a comparison, there are some differences : the background, the facial expression ,the collar ...

Edited by Allisnum2er
  • Like 1

image.png.b8c74f56d5551c745119c268cf9d3db8.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Allisnum2er said:

Hi Eric,

This portrait looks very much like this one ...

https://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk/explore-the-collection/401-450/francis-bacon/

Regards,

Yann

Edit :  Sorry, after a comparison, there are some differences : the background, the facial expression ,the collar ...

I agree with you - they are not the same picture, but they ARE very alike. The composition within the frame is virtually identical.  Well spotted. Another detail that only these two portraits have in common is the tassel which hangs down from the lace ruff. However there are lots of differences, most notably the face and the design of the ruff. A closer resemblance is with the full length Gorhambury portrait, but here too there are subtle differences - the silhouette of the hat, the hair, ruff and the folds of the background curtain. Unfortunately, the copy published in Baconiana is so degraded that analysing the two pictures more closely is difficult. Generally though, we can certainly say that the face in the mystery picture conforms with the three recognised portraits of Francis by Paul van Somer. To be continued....

 

Screen Shot 2022-04-10 at 10.53.09 am.png

Screen Shot 2022-04-10 at 11.11.40 am.png

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice to finally get to see and know what we have been looking at for so long!

Bacon is always recognizable to we Baconians, in a way, every image looks the same. Yet subtle differences that change the dates and the artists.

If you ever get bored with Bacon's portraits, look at the "claimed" Shakespeare portraits, "from his life".

I say total BS, but I am not an expert. As far as I know, there are NO portraits of Will Shakspur while he was alive. Do any of these images carry any weight that someone took an interest and made a resemblance of the illiterate Shak during his life? Big claims, but no bacon. 😉

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portraits_of_Shakespeare

image.thumb.png.4f9cdd02688b8c7f3cb2e7e49d8b6593.png

  • Like 2

T A A A A A A A A A A A T
157     www.Light-of-Truth.com     287
<-- 1 8 8 1 1
O 1 1 8 8 1 -->

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

Nice to finally get to see and know what we have been looking at for so long!

Bacon is always recognizable to we Baconians, in a way, every image looks the same. Yet subtle differences that change the dates and the artists.

If you ever get bored with Bacon's portraits, look at the "claimed" Shakespeare portraits, "from his life".

I say total BS, but I am not an expert. As far as I know, there are NO portraits of Will Shakspur while he was alive. Do any of these images carry any weight that someone took an interest and made a resemblance of the illiterate Shak during his life? Big claims, but no bacon. 😉

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portraits_of_Shakespeare

image.thumb.png.4f9cdd02688b8c7f3cb2e7e49d8b6593.png

 

And now, thanks to the great discovery by Julie Kemp, Baconians have their "The Chess Players" engraving, revealing the true Shake-speare, BACON / LUG ! 😊

https://sirbacon.org/bacon-forum/index.php?/topic/84-portraits-and-engravings-of-francis-bacon/#comment-388

 

  • Like 2

image.png.b8c74f56d5551c745119c268cf9d3db8.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OMG! You've opened Pandora's box. Maybe this could be a topic on its own - so much has been written, most of it tripe as far as I can see, about these pseudo-portraits. IMO the only approximate genuine portrait we have is the Dugdale sketch (attached). James Phinney Baxter did an excellent demolition job of the fake portraits in "The Greatest of the Literary Problems" (1917), as I'm sure you know. In recent times, the Chandos portrait has been heavily promoted, especially by the NPG, as the most likely "authentic" image we have of W.S. But even Dr Tarnya Cooper, the NPG's curatorial director and author of "Searching for Shakespeare" says there is no way of proving that the picture is actually of W.S. The centrepiece of a major exhibition currently at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra is the Chandos portrait, which was described in a review in the Canberra Times: The so-called Shakespeare portrait, the Chandos portrait, is possibly not by John Taylor and quite possibly not of the great bard. The literature on it is extensive, but inconclusive, and the strongest evidence is its resemblance to the engraved portrait on the title page of the Folio edition of Shakespeare. 

Enough said.

Dugdale Shakespeare.png

Chandos.jpeg

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, A Phoenix said:

Hi Kate,

Treasure trove indeed, some great images here. The one below is particularly intriguing and we have never come across this one of FB. In fact we believed that apart from the Hilliard one, none existed of him in his youth. Are there any details at all about this image?

Great work Kate.♥️👍

 

youngbacon.png

As intriguing and attractive as this portrait of a young Elizabethan gentleman is, when placed beside the unquestionably authentic portrait of Francis aged 17-18, for me at least, the only conclusion is that they are not of the same person. Domage!

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2022-04-10 at 8.16.27 am.png

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did anyone notice the difference between these two engravings ?

https://blogs.loc.gov/law/files/2012/01/Francis-Bacon.jpg

https://classic-literature.co.uk/francis-bacon-biography/francis-bacon/

In the second one, it seems that Francis Bacon has TWO LEFT ARMS, like Shake-speare in the Droeshout portrait ! 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droeshout_portrait#/media/File:Title_page_William_Shakespeare's_First_Folio_1623.jpg

  • Like 2

image.png.b8c74f56d5551c745119c268cf9d3db8.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These are two areas I paid attention to that matched 

 

744E19EB-5B45-4B0B-AB5C-BE7DC1A83479.thumb.jpeg.95762052e6aea2b8f7162be4f2260d35.jpeg

 

Also what’s going on here 

 

C9D5C8ED-3F72-4DA4-AF75-B7F375B343A7.thumb.jpeg.25d88c89e6302d3a1ae83b3377400e80.jpeg

I think the medal has been added in. 
I’m sticking with my theory it’s a copy of another. An artist like Van Sommer (Somer?) surely wouldn’t have let something like this remain in one of his pictures ?  Like you say Eric, to be continued! 
 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that the Portrait of Francis Bacon from the Dulwich Picture Gallery hides a secret ! 😀

image.png.7c519ecb8ed66aa85a2b0988e9ad1d1c.png

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/British_-_Francis_Bacon_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

As Lawrence said in a previous post : "The Bacon Red Beard, Essex had red hair and of course so did their Mommy Dearest."

And the Ruff was carefully painting.

I can count 21 parts.

21 is the gematria of the Hebrew word eyeh meaning I AM.

(In connection with page 53 of The First Part of King Henry the Fourth- First Folio)

And notice that on the 9th part of the Ruff we have 3 arcs instead of 2.

It is ,I think, a way to conceal the number 93 or IC, I see , Iesus Christ.

And if I am right (I am less sure) for the two other one on the part 17 and 18 of the Ruff, then we have :

9 + 17 +18 = 44

The gematria of yeled (child), dam (Blood) and chol (Phoenix)

"The Child with the Blood of the Phoenix"

What do you think ?

  • Like 1

image.png.b8c74f56d5551c745119c268cf9d3db8.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Kate Cassidy said:

These are two areas I paid attention to that matched 

 

744E19EB-5B45-4B0B-AB5C-BE7DC1A83479.thumb.jpeg.95762052e6aea2b8f7162be4f2260d35.jpeg

 

Also what’s going on here 

 

C9D5C8ED-3F72-4DA4-AF75-B7F375B343A7.thumb.jpeg.25d88c89e6302d3a1ae83b3377400e80.jpeg

I think the medal has been added in. 
I’m sticking with my theory it’s a copy of another. An artist like Van Sommer (Somer?) surely wouldn’t have let something like this remain in one of his pictures ?  Like you say Eric, to be continued! 
 

Having a little trouble uploading. Hope you can read the PDF letter to you I've attached. It doesn't address your concerns with the quality of the painting which I need to think more about and get back to you later on. Thanks so much for your interest. 

 

 

 

 

Ella's Portrait.pdf

Ella's Portrait.pdf

Edited by Eric Roberts
duplication
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Kate Cassidy said:

Ah, okay Eric. Thanks for taking the time to offer such a thorough reply. I'm always happy to eat my words. I apologise, I got this wrong. I hope you manage to track it down. Let me know if I can do anything to help.

Warmest regards, Kate

I should have said at the end of my letter that "if the painting is authentic" it must date from 1618-21. You may well still be right. Only if and when the picture is found and put before qualified art historians can it be definitively identified, either as a copy or a genuine van Somer. The problem is: what did Ella do with it? And who has it now? I emailed Susan McIlroy about the portrait the other day, but it seems that she knows nothing about it. The FBS must have a record of Ella Horsey somewhere in their archives. If we had an address it might be possible to find out who she left her estate to. Presumably, someone has the picture in their private collection and is keeping quiet about it - a pity as we're talking about a work potentially of international significance. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just wanted to say congratulations to Eric on his hard work and much valued contrubtion to Baconian scholarship. 'Francis Bacon's Portraits from Life' is a brilliant collection of portraits and can be seen here: https://sirbacon.org/francis-bacons-portraits-from-life/  ❤️❤️

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don’t know anything about how one traces paintings, but that sounds like a great idea to check who she left her estate to. I’m popping back in because   of a synchronicity. The first profile in my ‘who to follow’ on Twitter was this.

3B932596-B3A5-48FD-BE70-908412F2ECBA.jpeg.cd8906e2b047f38c2d45dbf024f28f3d.jpeg
 

Google algorithms again! Is it worth contacting someone like this? He has a contact tab on his website. Meanwhile when I looked up Van Somer, this classic came up so I overlaid it. See what you think 

 

Can’t see anything but I think the 8second video has loaded. Hope so 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, Kate Cassidy said:

I don’t know anything about how one traces paintings, but that sounds like a great idea to check who she left her estate to. I’m popping back in because   of a synchronicity. The first profile in my ‘who to follow’ on Twitter was this.

3B932596-B3A5-48FD-BE70-908412F2ECBA.jpeg.cd8906e2b047f38c2d45dbf024f28f3d.jpeg
 

Google algorithms again! Is it worth contacting someone like this? He has a contact tab on his website. Meanwhile when I looked up Van Somer, this classic came up so I overlaid it. See what you think 

Can’t see anything but I think the 8second video has loaded. Hope so 

Hi Kate, 

Yes the 8 second video has loaded ! 🙂 Another great finding !!! Once again the Ruff is different, but there is indeed a great resemblance between the two portraits.

  • Like 1

image.png.b8c74f56d5551c745119c268cf9d3db8.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Kate Cassidy said:

I don’t know anything about how one traces paintings, but that sounds like a great idea to check who she left her estate to. I’m popping back in because   of a synchronicity. The first profile in my ‘who to follow’ on Twitter was this.

3B932596-B3A5-48FD-BE70-908412F2ECBA.jpeg.cd8906e2b047f38c2d45dbf024f28f3d.jpeg
 

Google algorithms again! Is it worth contacting someone like this? He has a contact tab on his website. Meanwhile when I looked up Van Somer, this classic came up so I overlaid it. See what you think 

Can’t see anything but I think the 8second video has loaded. Hope so 

Thanks so much for the suggestion of contacting Graham Cameron. I've looked up his impressive credentials. I'm just a little wary of someone who claims that the Mona Lisa was based on Leonardo's mother. But we definitely need an art detective willing to take on the search for Ella's missing portrait. I've managed to find out more about her, thanks to Ancestry, including a reference number which I think pertains to her Will or probate records. I'm going to attempt a Wills search on Gov.UK.

 

Screen Shot 2022-04-11 at 10.27.09 pm.png

Edited by Eric Roberts
typo
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Kate Cassidy said:

I don’t know anything about how one traces paintings, but that sounds like a great idea to check who she left her estate to. I’m popping back in because   of a synchronicity. The first profile in my ‘who to follow’ on Twitter was this.

3B932596-B3A5-48FD-BE70-908412F2ECBA.jpeg.cd8906e2b047f38c2d45dbf024f28f3d.jpeg
 

Google algorithms again! Is it worth contacting someone like this? He has a contact tab on his website. Meanwhile when I looked up Van Somer, this classic came up so I overlaid it. See what you think 

Can’t see anything but I think the 8second video has loaded. Hope so 

I see what you're getting at. The close resemblance between these two 'mystery' portraits of Francis is undeniable. The red picture is in the Royal Lazienki Museum in Warsaw. https://www.lazienki-krolewskie.pl/en/katalog/obiekty/lkr-896.  What is unusual about this "early copy" (1620-22) is the tight framing of the figure, just like the portrait which belonged to Ella Horsey. Could it be that her's was an original variation by van Somer on which the red portrait was based? There are one or two small discrepancies, e.g. the spacing between the buttons on the right shoulder, the white tassel hanging from the ruff in Ella's picture, and the ruff itself, but the faces do seem to line up. Thank you so much for the video!

Intriguing. 

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Eric, I'm curious what you know about the portrait process in Bacon's time.

Obviously the painter did not take a photo and paint from that. I assume Bacon posed for hours at a time while the artist measured and sketched out some outlines, then painted in the rest.

Is there any actual documented history of those magic moments we enjoy so much 400 years later?

T A A A A A A A A A A A T
157     www.Light-of-Truth.com     287
<-- 1 8 8 1 1
O 1 1 8 8 1 -->

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

Hey Eric, I'm curious what you know about the portrait process in Bacon's time.

Obviously the painter did not take a photo and paint from that. I assume Bacon posed for hours at a time while the artist measured and sketched out some outlines, then painted in the rest.

Is there any actual documented history of those magic moments we enjoy so much 400 years later?

Thanks for the question but I'm no expert when it comes to the techniques of Elizabethan portraiture. However, Sir Roy Strong, former director of the NPG, gives us a few insights in the introduction to "Tudor and Jacobean Portraits", Vol. 1, 1969. Here is a short extract:

Screen Shot 2022-04-12 at 8.03.15 am.png

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you!! Pretty much answered my question and more!!

That's why we see similar images done over time. Same pin pricked images were what artists and "graphic designers" worked with 400 years ago and I couldn't grasp how they did what they did. Fascinating!!!

Explains so many engravings, sometimes reversed. I pictured engravers using a printed page and carving a new engraving by tracing an image. Yet they all are different on some level.

If we want to know Bacon, Elizabeth, and anyone else back then we need to understand as much as possible about their lives and how they lived. We see paintings that survive today, knowing that some artist, usually well-known, painted it. We see variations that are similar, copied and even painted by the same artist. It has been a question in my mind for many years how they did it.

Now days we take a photo, and can even work with it to create versions. In the time of "Shakespeare" we had no cameras. Yet we had artists and "graphic designers. "

I wonder if we as humans live long enough, if our graphic design images today will end up on some beautiful gallery someday? 😉

One of my college projects for Adobe Illustrator 20 some years ago:

Sir_Francis_Bacon800x800.thumb.jpg.ccf7555c7f21ad16a3dfb32da9a9e5a6.jpg

It's on Google and has been stolen numerous times. But I have the original file and can make into a highway billboard, and even bigger. LOL

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

T A A A A A A A A A A A T
157     www.Light-of-Truth.com     287
<-- 1 8 8 1 1
O 1 1 8 8 1 -->

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...