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Francis Bacon's Portraits


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On 8/14/2023 at 7:28 AM, Eric Roberts said:

and sat for Domenico Tintoretto in Venice.

I see the sorrow of a late teen Bacon who was living an identity nightmare, "Who is my Mother, and my Father?? If this is a painting of Bacon it captures what so many of us go through in life and that emotion was meant to be known.

image.png.2de76be110ffcd79a853c8edfd7e97b9.png

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1 hour ago, Light-of-Truth said:

I see the sorrow of a late teen Bacon who was living an identity nightmare, "Who is my Mother, and my Father?? If this is a painting of Bacon it captures what so many of us go through in life and that emotion was meant to be known.

image.png.2de76be110ffcd79a853c8edfd7e97b9.png

The young man in the portrait looks to me to be still in his teens. Bacon was in his early twenties when, as has been suggested, he travelled incognito on the Continent in the early 1580s. Wrong mouth. You're right though L-o-T, it could be the cover of a book on adolescence and anxiety.

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9 minutes ago, Eric Roberts said:

Wrong mouth.

That was my first thought. Then I looked at the emotion and Bacon fit to me, at least this past week or so. 😉

Bacon would have looked much older in his twenties. And he would have learned how to hide his pain by then. It would take quite the artist to Pierce that Veil.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

FRANCIS BACON'S HAT

 

https://sirbacon.org/gallery/baconhat.html

Beaver Hats and 17th Century English Society

At this time, (1600s) the North American trade in beaver pelts had not begun in earnest.  Hatters were dependent on the near extinct supply of European beaver from the northern most parts of Russia and Scandinavia.   The resultant high expense meant that beaver hats were extremely costly and generally worn only by the wealthiest of classes.

https://humwp.ucsc.edu/cwh/feinstein/Beaver Hats and 17th Century English Society.html

 

(beaver hat courtesy of www.pilgrimhall.org)

 

A Brief History of the Beaver Trade

https://humwp.ucsc.edu/cwh/feinstein/A brief history of the beaver trade.html

It has been suggested that it was in Constantinople that wool felting techniques were first applied to beaver fur. From there, knowledge of felting spread north, to Russia, along trade routes.  J. F. Crean suggests that wool felting likely spread to western Europe after the sack of Kiev by the Tarters in 1240, when artisans fled west.  However, beaver felting  techniques did not diffuse westward, and the beaver felting industry  remained centralized in Russia until the late 17th century. With a monopoly on both supply and industry, the Russians developed and refined techniques for processing beaver fur.  Essential to the felting process was a step known as combing, which separated the beaver's guard hairs from the downy under wool that was desired for felts.  The careful guarding of this trade secret helped to maintain the Russian monopoly. 

From the above we can only postulate that the beavers from which SFB's hat was made probably came from Russia, and was very expensive.

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59 minutes ago, Eric Roberts said:

At this time, (1600s) the North American trade in beaver pelts had not begun in earnest.  Hatters were dependent on the near extinct supply of European beaver from the northern most parts of Russia and Scandinavia.

The French were bringing beaver pelts back from America before 1600 it appears:

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/68540/68540-h/68540-h.htm#III

About page 33:

The fishing barques from St. Malo, from Dieppe, Rouen, La Rochelle and Havre, kept coming to America’s northern coasts every summer, hundreds of them. They fished for cod on the banks, hunted walrus in the great gulf, and caught whales in the lower parts of the St. Lawrence River. Always, wherever they were, the mariners drove an ever increasing trade with the Indians for valuable pelts. Over the sides of their ships and on shore they bartered for marten, otter, fox and beaver.

Commerce flourished to such an extent through this individual enterprise that ships’ captains frequently found it profitable to turn all hands to bartering for pelts. It was a French vessel in 1569 at Cape Breton whose master drove a “trade with the people of divers sortes of fine furs” that picked up the Englishmen,[Pg 33] David Ingram and his two companions, Richard Browne and Richard Twide. Along with a large number of others these three had been abandoned ashore following the defeat of their famous leader, John Hawkins, the slaver, in a piratical engagement in the Caribbean with the Spaniards. Ingram and his two friends, however, struck out into the Florida wilderness, “crossed the River May,” and for twelve months beat their hazardous way northward through lands never before trod by white men, until they reached Cape Breton. They reported seeing “plentie of fine furres” along the way.

Gradually the traffic in furs moved inland via the St. Lawrence as occasional traders, adopting the native mode of travel by canoe, braved the wilderness for choicer pelts. There being no soldiers or forts to fall back on, these traders, born of the fishing fleets, found it expedient to treat the Indians well. The Montagnais and the Algonkins, who had been hostile since Cartier’s last visit, reciprocated in kind. So did the Hurons, eventually. They were all hopeful of allies with fire guns to help them against their powerful enemies, the recently formed league of the Five Nations of the Iroquois, who inhabited parts of the St. Lawrence valley in the west and the country to the south.

In 1581 a French bark, sent out exclusively for fur by the merchants of St. Malo, pushed into the upper St. Lawrence. The profits of this venture were so spectacular that organized bulk traffic got under way immediately between France and the St. Lawrence valley.

Within three years Richard Hakluyt, the English geographer, was writing, “And nowe our neighboures, the men of St. Maloe in Brytaine, in the begynnyinge of Auguste laste paste, of this yere 1584 are come home with five shippes from Canada and the contries upp the Bay of St. Lawrence, and have broughte twoo of the people of the contrie home, and have founde suche swete in the newe trade that they are preparinge tenne shippes to returne thither in January nexte....”

Almost overnight New France became noted for its valuable export of pelts, especially beaver. Hakluyt, writing from Paris about this time, said that in one man’s house he had seen Canadian otter and beaver to the value of five thousand crowns.

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Hi everyone,

Can it be another piece of the puzzle ?

 I was looking at engravings by Simon de Passe, and I have just learned that he used the same plate for Francis Bacon (Lord Keeper of the Great Seal from 1617 to 1620)

https://www.rct.uk/collection/680621/francis-bacon

... and Thomas Coventry ( Lord Keeper of the Great Seal from 1625 to 1640).

https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw77732/Thomas-Coventry-1st-Baron-Coventry?LinkID=mp08122&role=art&displayStyle=thumb&displayNo=60&rNo=58

But this is not the case with John Williams who was Lord keeper of the Great Seal from 1621 to 1625.

I wondered if it could hide something, if "Coventry" could be important, and here is what I have just  found 😊...

The Coventry Mysteries and Shakespeare's Histories 

https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=early_drama

"The nineteenth-century antiquarian Thomas Sharp reported in his 1825 monograph Dissertation on the Pageants or Dramatic Mysteries Anciently Performed at Coventry that as late as1565 Sir John Throgmorton, the Recorder of Coventry, welcomed Queen Elizabeth I with the explanation that “this auncient Citie hath bine of longe tyme called the princes Chamber the iijde Citie of youre Realme.”

Joy !

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image.png.b8c74f56d5551c745119c268cf9d3db8.png

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3 hours ago, Allisnum2er said:

I was looking at engravings by Simon de Passe, and I have just learned that he used the same plate for Francis Bacon (Lord Keeper of the Great Seal from 1617 to 1620)

https://www.rct.uk/collection/680621/francis-bacon

... and Thomas Coventry ( Lord Keeper of the Great Seal from 1625 to 1640).

https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw77732/Thomas-Coventry-1st-Baron-Coventry?LinkID=mp08122&role=art&displayStyle=thumb&displayNo=60&rNo=58

17th Century AI tricks! 🙂

image.png.3c07befa3e7b00face49225b8020b1f0.png

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  • 3 weeks later...

ScreenShot2023-10-21at12_40_26am.png.15d82325621c016af504afd0798f7667.png

 

This is the first full-scale, formal portrait in oils that Francis sat for, as far as we know. 1610. By an English painter, Larkin.

Why did he wait until he was nearly fifty to have his portrait made? There is just a hint of a knowing smile. Clear, kind eyes.

Eyes that can't be fooled. Eyes that know so much. Jono should take a long look at this picture and other portraits of SFB

before attempting to impersonate him. No arrogance or smugness please.

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  • 1 month later...

A SELDOM SEEN PORTRAIT OF FRANCIS BACON

BY PAUL VAN SOMER, c. 1618

Raveningham Hall, Norfolk

https://raveningham.com/gardens/

The image below was found by Lawrence Gerald in the catalogue of the Exhibition of Late Elizabethan Art in Conjunction with the Tercentenary of Francis Bacon, organised by the Burlington Fine Arts Club in London in 1926. When I was researching the portraits of Francis Bacon, this picture proved to be too elusive. All I had was a description of it from a catalogue of paintings from stately homes in Norfolk published in 1928.

PortraitsinNorfolkHomes1928-RaveninghamHall.png.223f6f2bd59bb45a7d14b07f4a9168eb.png

Thanks to Lawrence we can now see it for the first time:

RAVENINGHAMVANSOMERc_1618.jpeg.53f7e7b5fa283eed72d885a0e9c29ec0.jpeg

A colour image of the painting has been requested from the owners of the portrait.

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On 10/5/2023 at 10:10 AM, Light-of-Truth said:

17th Century AI tricks! 🙂

image.png.3c07befa3e7b00face49225b8020b1f0.png

Thanks for finding the Simon van der Passe engraving of Thomas Coventry. I think what has happened here is that the artist has re-used his original master drawing for the engraving of SFB by transferring it in reverse onto a new copperplate.  Although this would have saved valuable time in the studio, one wonders how Sir Thomas might have felt on seeing himself dressed in his predecessor's clothes.

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KEEP THIS UNDER YOUR HAT

ScreenShot2023-11-28at6_29_26pm.png.c10b0e88090bc02075085661fcef2bef.png

One can read almost anything into this fathomless face; the ever-so-slight smile; the unmistakable twinkle in both eyes. William Larkin has done a brilliant job of detecting a personality, an identity, which is as much hidden as visible. 

Isolated from the rest of the picture, the 'self' of the sitter as seen by the artist is more apparent.

In a silent way, it is almost as if Sir Francis Bacon is asking us: "Have you guessed the answer to the puzzle yet?"

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  • 3 months later...

Just came across this portrait of FB that is apparently in the Storico Archives at the oldest university in the world, The University of Bologna in Italy est. 1088. Have never seen this painting before and can't seem to find any other details about it. It would seem to be FB later in his life.

Portrait of Francis Bacon (Archivio Storico Università di Bologna, photo Mattei-Zannoni). 

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Portrait-of-Francis-Bacon-Archivio-Storico-Universita-di-Bologna-photo-Mattei-Zannoni_fig16_279407051

Portrait-of-Francis-Bacon-Archivio-Storico-Universita-di-Bologna-photo-Mattei-Zannoni.png

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6 hours ago, A Phoenix said:

It would seem to be FB later in his life.

The artistic detail and style are not familiar to his others, but it is Bacon as we know him. I'm eager to know more about this portrait!! 🙂

 

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On 11/25/2023 at 4:42 AM, A Phoenix said:

I missed this last November! Oh my! 

Was it Thanksgiving holiday chaos? Yet very happy to see today!

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1 hour ago, Eric Roberts said:

I especially enjoy the museum shelf displays of the letters and proven works of Willy Shakspur:

image.png.591bf2bcc176c0b514c6fc227061b3e8.png

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Posted (edited)
On 3/4/2024 at 3:25 AM, A Phoenix said:

Just came across this portrait of FB that is apparently in the Storico Archives at the oldest university in the world, The University of Bologna in Italy est. 1088. Have never seen this painting before and can't seem to find any other details about it. It would seem to be FB later in his life.

Portrait of Francis Bacon (Archivio Storico Università di Bologna, photo Mattei-Zannoni). 

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Portrait-of-Francis-Bacon-Archivio-Storico-Universita-di-Bologna-photo-Mattei-Zannoni_fig16_279407051

Portrait-of-Francis-Bacon-Archivio-Storico-Universita-di-Bologna-photo-Mattei-Zannoni.png

 

FrancisBaconBolognaPortrait.jpeg.14f343a0bcd2f1205816bdbf91849d84.jpeg

 

 

Dear Eric Roberts,

The collection of paintings of the University of Bologna consists of over 700 paintings, it was composed from an initial group of 303 portraits donated in 1754 by Cardinal Filippo Maria Monti to the library of the Institute of Sciences, together with all the books of his own library. 

The portrait of Francis Bacon belonged to this first group of paintings, as it is recorded in the inventory that is now preserved at the University Library (Elenchus illustrium virorum quorum pictae imagines e Pinacotheca cl. me. Cardinalis Montij una cum ejusdem Bibliothecae libris Bononiae trasferuntur. Ms. 424).

Many of the portraits owned by Cardinal Monti were painted by unknown artists who took the image of the characters from other paintings or most frequently from the engravings placed on the frontispieces of books which they were the authors. 

Here you can find the portait in our web catalogue 

https://archiviostorico.unibo.it/it/patrimonio-documentario/quadreria?record=19896

 

Best regards,

 

Pier Paolo Zannoni

Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna

Biblioteca Universitaria - Archivio storico dell'Università

via Zamboni 33

40126 Bologna

 

Comment: Even though it is not a "lost" contemporary portrait, it is nonetheless interesting as an example of a "fan" picture of Francis Bacon commissioned by an admirer, Cardinal Monti, sometime during the first half of the 18th century.

Monti began to collect books in the 1720s, some on religious or historical subjects but including many modern literary and scientific works. By the time of his death his library contained 11,000 volumes, mostly printed, including texts on theology, philosophy, canon law and literature. In accordance with the Pope's suggestion, Cardinal Monti bequeathed his entire library to the Academy of Sciences of Bologna Institute. He also gave the Institute a collection of (303) paintings which included portraits of major scientific figures. The library was formally opened in 1756.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filippo_Maria_Monti#:~:text=Filippo Maria Monti (or Cardinal,XIV on 9 September 1743.

 

The probable source of the image of Bacon that the artist used as a basis for an oil painting was Simon van der Passe's 1617 engraving from a book in Monti's collection - Compton Holland's Baziliologia - A Book of Kings (1618); Sylva Sylvarum (1626-27) or Advancement and Proficience of Learning (1640).ScreenShot2024-03-05at11_47_23pm.png.daad3ab386e0becca5c538f70eacb971.png

 

FrancisBaconBolognaPortrait2.png.5fafa4cbe509711b6e6965ca95663c4e.png

 

It's clearly not a slavish copy. The ruff is the artist's own re-invention, but the hatband remains the same. I'll say nothing about the rouge and lipstick. 

Hats off to A Phoenix for finding this obscure Italian reproduction. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Eric Roberts
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On 12/21/2022 at 3:38 AM, Allisnum2er said:

(Notice the roses on his Buckle Shoes 🙂 )

I agree, it's a significant feaure, but we should remember that it was the fashion to have roses decorating shoes at the time. Bacon's were tame compared to some of these others. But were his "Tudor roses?" "Roses/Rosettes," Fashion History Timeline, posted by Hyo Jeong Lee | Last updated Dec 13, 2018 | Published on Dec 14, 2018 | 17th century, R, term definition https://fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu/roses-rosettes/

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

 

A RECENT DISCOVERY

BY ALLISNUM2ER

 

 

John Crome’s Copy of a Portrait of Sir Francis Bacon after Paul van Somer

 https://www.artnet.com/artists/john-crome-the-elder/portrait-of-sir-francis-bacon-ZOfp3uMJpUSEKqdQJO3gvQ2

ScreenShot2024-03-28at5_59_19pm.png.4a3fe6a55d61a5938658dc6e18a5bcbb.png

 

These three pictures constitute the only portraits by John Crome (1768-1821) that I could find among the 300 + oil and watercolour paintings that are attributed to him. The two outer pictures are details from two self portraits. The central picture is his small copy of a Paul van Somer portrait of Sir Francis Bacon. John Crome spent his whole life in Norwich and became as well-known as Constable for his Norfolk landscapes.

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

A Passion for Landscape: Rediscovering John Crome

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djv1WPKAC2k

Given the absence of portraiture in Crome’s body of work, it can only be assumed that the Bacon portrait was a special commission from one of the manorial estates in Norfolk. The county is closely associated with Sir Nicholas Bacon and his descendants. Siffkey Old Hall, Gillingham Hall, Earlham Hall, Garboldisham Old Hall, and Raveningham Hall are all connected with the extended Bacon family in Norfolk. There is a van Somer portrait of Francis Bacon at Raveningham. It is unusual because of its its dark red background. Crome’s copy also has a reddish background and is almost exactly the same size (22.5” x 16.5”). It can therefore be argued that Crome was commissioned to make a copy of the Raveningham portrait of Bacon by Paul van Somer, sometime before 1821.  As far as we can tell, this was something he had never done before and never did again.

 

Edited by Eric Roberts
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Eric Roberts said:

 

A RECENT DISCOVERY

BY ALLISNUM2ER

 

 

John Crome’s Copy of a Portrait of Sir Francis Bacon after Paul van Somer

 https://www.artnet.com/artists/john-crome-the-elder/portrait-of-sir-francis-bacon-ZOfp3uMJpUSEKqdQJO3gvQ2

ScreenShot2024-03-28at5_59_19pm.png.4a3fe6a55d61a5938658dc6e18a5bcbb.png

 

These three pictures constitute the only portraits by John Crome (1768-1821) that I could find among the 300 + oil and watercolour paintings that are attributed to him. The two outer pictures are details from two self portraits. The central picture is his small copy of a Paul van Somer portrait of Sir Francis Bacon. John Crome spent his whole life in Norwich and became as well-known as Constable for his Norfolk landscapes.

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

A Passion for Landscape: Rediscovering John Crome

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djv1WPKAC2k

Given the absence of portraiture in Crome’s body of work, it can only be assumed that the Bacon portrait was a special commission from one of the manorial estates in Norfolk. The county is closely associated with Sir Nicholas Bacon and his descendants. Redgrave Hall, Siffkey Old Hall, Gillingham Hall, Earlham Hall, Garboldisham Old Hall, and Raveningham Hall are all connected with the extended Bacon family in Norfolk. There is a van Somer portrait of Francis Bacon at Raveningham. It is unusual because of its its dark red background. Crome’s copy also has a reddish background and is almost exactly the same size (22.5” x 16.5”). It can therefore be argued that Crome was commissioned to make a copy of the Raveningham portrait of Bacon by Paul van Somer, sometime before 1821.  As far as we can tell, this was something he had never done before and never did again.

 

 

On closer examination, it's apparent that John Crome has made an addition to the van Somer original. He has superimposed a scroll, presumably with some sort of inscription. The only available copy of this painting is so degraded that the writing is illegible. I've played with the image settings to no avail.JohnCromeBacon.jpeg.f1c2f96254687654664d6eef41dd4f3d.jpeg

 

 

 

Edited by Eric Roberts
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21 hours ago, Eric Roberts said:

 

A RECENT DISCOVERY

BY ALLISNUM2ER

 

 

John Crome’s Copy of a Portrait of Sir Francis Bacon after Paul van Somer

 https://www.artnet.com/artists/john-crome-the-elder/portrait-of-sir-francis-bacon-ZOfp3uMJpUSEKqdQJO3gvQ2

ScreenShot2024-03-28at5_59_19pm.png.4a3fe6a55d61a5938658dc6e18a5bcbb.png

 

These three pictures constitute the only portraits by John Crome (1768-1821) that I could find among the 300 + oil and watercolour paintings that are attributed to him. The two outer pictures are details from two self portraits. The central picture is his small copy of a Paul van Somer portrait of Sir Francis Bacon. John Crome spent his whole life in Norwich and became as well-known as Constable for his Norfolk landscapes.

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

A Passion for Landscape: Rediscovering John Crome

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djv1WPKAC2k

Given the absence of portraiture in Crome’s body of work, it can only be assumed that the Bacon portrait was a special commission from one of the manorial estates in Norfolk. The county is closely associated with Sir Nicholas Bacon and his descendants. Siffkey Old Hall, Gillingham Hall, Earlham Hall, Garboldisham Old Hall, and Raveningham Hall are all connected with the extended Bacon family in Norfolk. There is a van Somer portrait of Francis Bacon at Raveningham. It is unusual because of its its dark red background. Crome’s copy also has a reddish background and is almost exactly the same size (22.5” x 16.5”). It can therefore be argued that Crome was commissioned to make a copy of the Raveningham portrait of Bacon by Paul van Somer, sometime before 1821.  As far as we can tell, this was something he had never done before and never did again.

 

 

Correction: Redgrave is in Suffolk not Norfolk as stated and has been removed.

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On 3/28/2024 at 10:48 AM, Eric Roberts said:

The only available copy of this painting is so degraded that the writing is illegible. I've played with the image settings to no avail.

I've examined it in detail, it says, "Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare."

 

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