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Rooms: Francis Bacon in Wartime London

Image caption: 7 Cromwell Place, South Kensington (Image © Altair Brandon-Salmon)

Wednesday 22 November 2023, 6.00PM

Speaker(s): Altair Brandon-Salmon, Junior Fellow, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Ph.D. candidate in Art History, Stanford University


In 1942, Francis Bacon moved into a bomb-damaged house at 7 Cromwell Place in South Kensington. It was here that he painted Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion and other ground-breaking work which cut across the prevailing trends of British art. The destruction of London during the Blitz enabled a new creative direction for Bacon.

By tracing the history of Cromwell Place, the evolution and political urgency of Victorian domestic rooms will emerge, a powerful force which Bacon exploded in his painting. His defiantly unconventional life at Cromwell Place breached the boundaries between public and private worlds, while his work unleashed the new terrors of the twentieth century.


Altair Brandon-Salmon is a PhD candidate in Art History at Stanford University, writing a dissertation on how bombsites in London shaped postwar British art and architecture. His essays have appeared in Art History.

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[Image: 7 Cromwell Place, South Kensington (Image © Altair Brandon-Salmon)]

Location: BS/005 Berrick Saul Building