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Little known painter's work hides Bacon scraps on reverse

Posted on 2013-02-28 12:06:45 in PRESS

'Pieces of destroyed painting(s)' by Francis Bacon, mounted on stretchers (back view), © The Estate of Francis Bacon / DACS London. All rights reserved. Image © BNPS.co.uk

An incredible series of events has led to five – six paintings by a late, little known British artist, Lewis Todd, hiding the valuable scraps of a discarded Francis Bacon work (or works) on their reverse. The discovery was made by Todd’s family after his death in 2006.

Bacon’s preference was to paint on a canvases unprimed reverse. In a rare move it appears that Francis Bacon chose not to destroy the unwanted work(s), and the relatively unspoiled canvas(es), with blank primed fronts, ended up at a Cambridge gallery as art supplies – although it remains unknown how.

Aspiring ‘Sunday painter' Lewis Todd obtained the ex-bacon canvas(es) for free from the Cambridge gallery. However, either by the gallery’s, Bacon's or Todd's wishes the once large Bacon canvas (es) was/were cut down into smaller painting surfaces.

With the Todd canvases collected and flipped the Francis Bacon ‘jigsaw’ can be appreciated. An even more remarkable prospect is that it’s clear sections of Bacon’s unfinished work(s) are missing. It’s entirely possible that someone may have a Lewis Todd painting on their wall at home, hiding a very valuable Bacon section on its reverse. The slashed sections may be the remnants of a 'Pope' painting.

The Francis Bacon Catalogue Raisonné Committee has authenticated five of the slashed canvases. Northumbria University’s preliminary pigment results also confirm the pigments and binding medium were typical of Bacon works.

Ewbank Auctioneers, Surrey, UK, will auction five of the Todd/Bacon canvases on 20th March 2013.

Read more details of this extraordinary story via the BBC here: http://bbc.in/13owesn

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