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John Henry Frederick Bacon

John Henry Frederick Bacon Painting - The Golden Butterfly. The Harvey Family by John Henry Frederick Bacon

The Golden Butterfly. The Harvey Family

John Henry Frederick Bacon ARA (1868 – 24 January 1914) was a British painter and illustrator of genre works, history and bible scenes, and portraits.[1]

Life and work

Bacon was the second son of the lithographer John Cardanall Bacon, and showed artistic talent from a young age. He trained at the Westminster School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools in London. In his teens he acquired a reputation as an outstanding black-and-white illustrator, and at the age of 18 set off on a professional tour of India and Burma.[1]

On his return to England, in 1889, Bacon exhibited The Village Green and Nevermore at the Royal Academy and was a regular exhibitor from then on. He was a successful painter of religious works, such as Peace be unto you (1897), Gethsemane (1899);[2] historical scenes, such as Homage giving, Westminster Abbey[3] (for the coronation of Edward VII), The Coronation ceremony of George V (1911),[4] The City of London Imperial Volunteers Return to London from South Africa on Monday 29th October 1900; as well as portraiture and genre scenes - such as A Wedding Morning, (1892) A Confession of Love (1894) and Rivals (1904). He was an Associate of the Royal Academy (ARA) and was awarded the MVO (Member of the Royal Victorian Order) for distinguished service to the King.[1] Bacon illustrated books as well as magazines and periodicals.

Bacon married in 1894 and took up residence at "Pillar House" in Harwell, Berkshire (now in Oxfordshire). He had 7 children. He died of acute bronchitis on 24 January 1914, aged only 49.[5]

Selected works
Relief of Ladysmith depicting Sir George Stuart White greeting Major Hubert Gough on 28 February 1900

The Wedding Morning, John Henry Frederick Bacon (Lady Lever Art Gallery)
Portrait of Michael Lewis Myers, 1906 (Tate Britain)

Illustrated books (selected)

Ebbutt, Maud Isabel. Hero-myths & legends of the British race (New York: T.Y. Crowell & Company, 1910).
Squire, Charles. Celtic myth and legend, poetry & romance (London: Gresham).
Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit (Gresham, 1912)


Obituary (The Connoisseur, volume 38, 1914).
See Jesus Christ at Gethsemene (from W. S. Sparrow's The Gospels in art, 1904, p. 232).
The Homage Giving (1902 - National Portrait Gallery
Coronation of George V.
J H F Bacon (Harwell Village Website).

Artist, UK


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