Francis Bacon in Your Blood
Francis Bacon in Your Blood
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In June of 1963, when Michael Peppiatt first met Francis Bacon, the former was a college boy at Cambridge, the latter already a famous painter, more than thirty years his senior. And yet, Peppiatt was welcomed into the volatile artist’s world; Bacon, considered by many to be "mad, bad, and dangerous to know," proved himself a devoted friend and father figure, even amidst the drinking and gambling.
Though Peppiatt would later write perhaps the definitive biography of Bacon, his sharply drawn memoir has a different vigor, revealing the artist at his most intimate and indiscreet, and his London and Paris milieus in all their seediness and splendor. Bacon is felt with immediacy, as Peppiatt draws from contemporary diaries and records of their time together, giving us the story of a friendship, and a new perspective on an artist of enduring fascination.
one seems to me distinctly corked. When I remark on it Francis is sceptical, but I know the wine well since Jill and I drank it at our wedding breakfast here. I send it back and am relieved to find the new bottle has a totally different, fresher taste. Once he’s sipped it critically, Francis acknowledges this with an approving nod towards me, which, emancipated from his influence as I feel I have become, still gives me a rush of pleasure. Whether Francis will approve of Jill is, however, another
Waring Hopkins, Richard and Christina Ives, Bill and Janet Jacklin, Peter James, Jeanne Job, Nigel Jones, Sam Keller, Leon Kossoff, Ulf Küster, Andrew Lambirth, Mark and Lucy Lefanu, Magnus Linklater, Bertrand Lorquin, Olivier Lorquin, Nicholas Maclean, Rachel Mannheimer, Juan Marsé, Gillian Malpass, Pierre-Yves Mauguen, Antoine Merlino, Henry and Alison Meyric Hughes, Lucy Mitchell-Innes, Bona Montagu, Serena Morton, Martin and Smita Murphy-Davé, David Nash, Lynn Nesbit, Hughie and Clare
all over the place – including a whole back page from Paris Match – looks good. If this weren’t enough to make me feel I’m riding high, I get a flattering review of the ‘Modern Art in Britain’ issue from John Russell in the Sunday Times. It had never occurred to me that our little magazine would reach Fleet Street, let alone get a notice by a well-known art critic in a leading newspaper. Perhaps good things, like bad ones, come in threes, because shortly after that comes an invitation from Nigel
sound can be heard from within the hot white cottonwool that envelops us all, whoever and wherever we might turn out to be. Then the door opens again and the steam parts for an instant to reveal a large, pink, prosthetic limb stretched out next to me. The hangover I came in with evaporates as I clutch my loincloth and dash for the ice-cold plunge. 8 A Death Foreshadowed Francis has been coming more often to Paris over the past few months. I know it’s to do with a big exhibition here, and
shoulders and face like tribal marks. I can only imagine he has been called out by some old, infirm person in urgent need of fuel, and meanwhile I register all too keenly the look of alarm that flits over Zette’s primly composed features. This, I think, could deal the coup de grâce to what is already a touch-and-go situation, and I can just hear the gossip circulating through the galleries round the rue de Seine (‘Did you hear about Peppiatt’s lunch for Bacon in a coal-hole in the Marais?’