Childhood in Ireland and England

Francis Bacon is born on the 28 October 1909, in a Dublin nursing home at 63 Lower Baggot Street. His father, Anthony Edward ‘Eddy’ Mortimer Bacon, a former captain in the Durham Light Infantry, has resigned from the army with the rank of Honorary Major and begun a new career as a horse-trainer. His mother, Christina Winifred Loxley Bacon (née Firth), has inherited wealth from her family’s steel company.

Bacon’s parents, both English, live at ‘Cannycourt’, a house near Kilcullen in County Kildare in Ireland, to take advantage of the area’s equestrian facilities and the proximity of the Curragh. Their home is run by Eddy Bacon on military lines. Francis is asthmatic and allergic to horses and dogs. This is perceived by his father as a weakness. Bacon said he later initiated his first sexual encounters with stable grooms.

In 1915, one year after war broke out, the Bacon family moves back to 6 Westbourne Crescent in London, where Bacon’s father works for the Territorial Force of the British Army. In 1918, they move to his grandmother’s house near Abbeyleix, County Laois, Ireland, called ‘Farmleigh’, where the young Francis enjoys spending time with his cherished ‘Granny Supple’. He is fond of her house with its beautiful curved rooms, the memory of which he later suggested as the likely origin of the curved backgrounds in so many of his compositions. Subsequently the family moves to and from Ireland and England several times.

Bacon with his mother (c.1914)
Bacon with his sisters Ianthe and Winifred (c.1923)
Bacon outside ‘Farmleigh’, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois, Ireland (c.1924)
Bacon’s father leads in a winner at Punchestown Races (c.1910)