UK Auctioneer To Sell Francis Bacon 'Screaming Pope' Paintings Canvases cut from "Screaming Pope" paintings by Francis Bacon have emerged and will be sold by the Surrey auctioneer who sold other but unidentified fragments of Bacon works for more than £1 million.
research, paint samples from the paintings were collected and analysed. Preliminary results confirm that all pigments and binding medium used were typical of Francis Bacon works of the 1950s and 1960s.
The sixth canvas from the same source as the others, only recently returned from America and not examined by the Authentication Committee , has deep blue and black vertical lines and is inscribed verso in pen "Apples - by Lewis Todd" and "Francis Bacon - cast off! in 1950's" The canvas measures 22 by 18.5 inches and is estimated a £5,000-10,000.
Lewis Todd (1925-2006) lived in Over, near Cambridge. He was educated at the Perse School in Cambridge and served in the Home Guard based in Histon. After the war he worked as a graphic artist for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAF) eastern region, and was awarded the British Empire Medal for his work.
He retired in the 1980s, becoming a 'Sunday painter', describing himself as a "late Impressionist", while his style was likened to that of L. S. Lowry. He and his wife ran a stall at Cambridge's craft markets for many years.
One of his oil paintings, a scene of people punting on the River Cam behind Kings College Chapel, was purchased on behalf of the Queen Mother and believed to be in the Royal collection, while Prince Charles and Prince Philip were said to enjoy his cartoons done at the East of England Show MAF tent.
Ewbank's are Surrey's leading auctioneers of fine art and antiques. They are credited in having established the market for previously unseen and mutilated Francis Bacon canvases. In 2007, they sold a collection rescued from a skip outside the artist's London studio by electrician Mac Robertson who became Bacon's drinking partner. Estimated at around £50,000, the collection sold for £1.13 million.
Next came a further six works which were sold by Ewbank's on behalf of Mr Ron Thomas, a porter at Bacon's dealers, Marlborough Fine Art. One of Mr Thomas's duties was to ferry paintings between the gallery and Bacon's studio and the mutilated canvases were given to him, either to keep or to have the stretchers for his own use. They sold for a total of £32,000.
In 2008, a man who worked in the shop where Bacon purchased his art materials consigned part of one of Bacon's destroyed canvases dating from about 1985, which showed what appeared to be a "pool of flesh" spread across a black background. It sold for £12,000.
Viewing for the sale at the Burnt Common auction rooms is on Saturday March 16 from 10am to 2pm; Monday March 18 from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday March 19, from 10am to 8pm and on the morning of the sale from 9.30-10. For further information, please contact Chris Ewbank FRICS ASFAV on 01483 223101 or firstname.lastname@example.org