There’s Bacon and there’s Bacon. In fact, a whole shedload of Bacons dot the British historical landscape. One of their claims to fame was their propensity to promise to pay for things with money they didn’t have and marrying to obtain other people’s money. In that sense, bringing home a Bacon then did not bring forth rejoicing like it does today. It is rumoured that the clan had a certain tendency to bed-hopping and that the lineage may have included more bastards than a loan sharks convention.
But let us repair to more modern times and that artistic enfant terrible, Francis Bacon. If I may digress momentarily, Francis’ grandfather, Anthony, in the best Bacon tradition, emerged from a debtor’s prison to seek out investors to support the obviously insane idea of building a British colony in South Australia.
That obviously planted a seed in the minds of some of the family tree, to the extent that Francis’ father, ‘Eddy’ Bacon was born in Adelaide to a British father and an Australian mother and his siblings continue to have roots in Australia. However Eddy reverted to type and married a British coal heiress, scuttled off ‘home’ and they spawned the said Francis and three other progeny.
Poor Francis had a largely miserable childhood, mostly as a result of his father’s abhorrence of anything smacking of femininity or homosexuality in his son. At one point he had a stable hand attempt to whip this stain out of Francis’ system. Suffice to say he was unsuccessful.
Francis ran away to London as a young man, surviving on an allowance from his mother. It would seem his only pursuits for many years were drinking and gambling. But then he discovered art and gradually art discovered him and his artistic excrescences made him wealthy in his own lifetime, that rarest of achievements, and it became de rigeur to bring home a Bacon.
Of course after his death in 1992, the monetary value of his works soared and one has sold for over $140 million. The artistic value of his twisted and depressing world view remains the same i.e. a con job of monumental proportions.
It would seem that the apple never falls far from the tree in the Bacon dynasty. Wouldn’t it be fitting if these massive profits were returned to the descendants of those their family ripped off over the years? Pigs might fly.