Bacon portrait sells for £21.3m

A FRANCIS Bacon portrait, which enjoys a unique connection with Roundwood House, has sold for £21.3m (€25.4 million) in London. The titular subject of the ‘Portrait of Henrietta Moraes’ lived at Roundwood in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.

A FRANCIS Bacon portrait, which enjoys a unique connection with Roundwood House, has sold for £21.3m (€25.4 million) in London. The titular subject of the ‘Portrait of Henrietta Moraes’ lived at Roundwood in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.

Auction goers at Christie’s competed with phone and internet bidders worldwide for the work on St Valentine’s Day. Bidding opened at £12 million and jumped in installements of $500,000, before the hammer fell at £19 million. The successful phone bidder paid precisely £21,321,250. Neither the vendor nor the buyer have been named by the auctioneers.

Henrietta Moraes was a well known British model whom Bacon painted on a number of occasions. She was the “caretaker” of Roundwood House in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the property was owned by the Irish Georgian Society.

Ms Moraes was a colourful bohemian character in London during the 1960s who mixed with artists and Soho society. However, she died poverty stricken in a council flat in Chelsea in 1999, at the age of 63.