If you’ve seen the Crown series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, you probably remember scenes with her late sister, Princess Margaret, who was portrayed as an inveterate party girl who loved to sing Cole Porter songs. In such scenes one might think she sings well, but the Irish-born British artist Francis Bacon, who attended a party Lady Rothermere gave with the princess, thinks otherwise.
ArtDaily’s review of the book titled Francis Bacon: The revelations of Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan point to an incident at Lady Rotenmere’s white-tie ball in which Margaret grabbed the microphone to sing passionately false. And while those present listened politely – she was, after all, of nobility – she was booed by the Bacon’s until she left the party in tears.
Stevens and Swann quote the artist: His singing was really too bad. Someone had to stop them. I don’t think people should perform if they can’t do it well.
A review of Stevens and the Swan published by the Irish Mail gives further details of the incident, including the fact that the performer led the princess up the steps of the ball as if she were an extra in the Music Hall. Bacon’s boldness is not so different from the Irish Mail’s description of him: brilliant, fearless and free-spirited.
And to hear Art Daily about it, his words about Princess Margaret also summed up what he was: a hint of his indifference to disgrace; a veneer of cruelty; and always a sincere appeal to standards. As for the latter quality, Bacon was so obsessed with standards that he regularly destroyed his own paintings.
According to some sources, Bacon had no training in painting and specialized in depicting torn and twisted flesh. The reasons why in the book Stevens and Swan had many books from his childhood. He had such severe asthma that he was kept on a machine by the other children. The biography also reveals that he was raped by grooms in his father’s stable and beaten by them on his father’s orders.
The older cousin also allegedly raped her several times. Images of his paintings depicting an altered and evil body come to mind when reading this document.
Stevens and Swan also noted how Bacon longed for familiar patterns of pleasure and comfort. Although he painted a grim picture at the time, according to the authors he was kind, decent and generous, even paying his friends’ hospital bills and writing loving letters to his mother.
And here it is: He lived with his nanny for a long time as an adult. She stayed, even after she lost her sight.
The book is full of such details, which explains why it is almost 900 pages of War and Peace. In a sense, the story of Bacon told in this extended biography is a kind of War and Peace. The Irish Post describes their military side as a touch of violence and their work as a brutality of the facts. The Irish Post notes one reality: He grew up in a troubled, pre-revolutionary Ireland. This explains why historians Donald Hall and Pat Corrington Wykes cite him in their 1990 book Anecdotes of Modern Art: I want reality, not aesthetics.
He’s right. When you’re in the throes of raw, screaming emotion, you don’t ask: How do I look?
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