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Francis Bacon’s Portraits from Life

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Date: 1617 Artist: Simon van de Passe (1595-1647)
Medium: engraving

Image credit: Courtesy of Gary Keegan

It is not often noted that the figure in this famous engraving is derived from William Larkin’s original portrait of Bacon, as can be seen from the features of the face and the angle of the body. Hence, it is unlikely that van de Passe’s engraving was drawn from life. Designed to be widely circulated in print, it commemorates Francis’s elevation to Lord Keeper of the Great Seal in March 1617. The following year, it was reproduced in the Delabere and Fife copies of Holland’s “Baziliologia – a Booke of Kings”. Peter Dawkins’ detailed study of the image can be read here: