Listen free for 30 days

Listen with offer

Offer ends May 1st, 2024 11:59PM GMT. Terms and conditions apply.
£7.99/month after 3 months. Renews automatically.
Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection - including bestsellers and new releases.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, celeb exclusives, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.
Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection - including bestsellers and new releases.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, celeb exclusives, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
Francis Bacon cover art

Francis Bacon

By: Mark Stevens, Annalyn Swan
Narrated by: Charles Armstrong
Get this deal Try for £0.00

Pay £99p/month. After 3 months pay £7.99/month. Renews automatically. See terms for eligibility.

£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.

Buy Now for £16.99

Buy Now for £16.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Listeners also enjoyed...

The Lives of Lucian Freud cover art
Francis Bacon in Your Blood cover art
Modern Nature cover art
David Lynch cover art
Fierce Poise cover art
Ninth Street Women cover art
Georgia O'Keeffe cover art
The Heart cover art
Last Light cover art
Long Drawn Out Trip cover art
David Hockney In His Own Words cover art
Hot, Cold, Heavy, Light, 100 Art Writings 1988-2018 cover art
Playing to the Gallery cover art
Frida cover art
Picasso and the Painting That Shocked the World cover art
What Becomes a Legend Most cover art

Summary

The Times Art Book of the Year 2021

Finalist for the Plutarch Award 2022

A decade in the making, based upon hundreds of interviews and extensive new material, Pulitzer Prize winners Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan have written a startlingly original portrait—rich, complex and subtle—of a commanding modern figure. 

Bacon concealed many important aspects of his life. He described himself as an asthmatic child in Ireland with foxhunting parents and a tyrannical father, but he was also rescued by a series of formidable women—women who in this biography emerge in their own right. He was never just a dissolute young man but was also a passionate reader, largely self-taught. Early on, influenced by Eileen Gray, he became a hard-working and ambitious designer, a brief career explored here in detail for the first time. He dreamed of remaking the modern room.

Bacon worked no less hard or ambitiously as a painter, at first with little success. Throughout the 1930s and early ’40s, he suffered ongoing failures, growing isolated and often ill. His health issues throughout his life were far more significant than he revealed. Then came his astonishing breakthrough in 1944, with Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. In the following decades, he emerged as one of the great iconoclasts and bon vivants of his time, a Wildean figure whom one friend called ‘a terrific grandee’. Bacon was typically celebrated as a sexual adventurer who liked rough trade, but he never stopped longing for a serious committed relationship, however painful. He continued to make disturbing images of the strangeness within, but developed into a more varied artist than has been recognised, creating in particular an extraordinary series of self-portraits. He was an artist who believed in chance and paradox: the iconoclast eventually became an icon.

This is a story, deeply researched and masterfully told, of a sickly boy who became one of the great figures of his time. The 20th century does not know itself without Bacon.

©2021 Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

Critic reviews

"Must surely be the definitive life of Francis Bacon.... A biography that no Bacon fan - or indeed foe - can afford to overlook.... Mesmerising." (The Times)

"A magnificent triumph...I was captivated by every line." (Observer)

"Meticulously researched and compelling." (Guardian)

More from the same

What listeners say about Francis Bacon

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    35
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    26
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    5
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    36
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A great story

A brilliantly, informative book which I really enjoyed listening to. Superbly narrated. Editing could have been a little better but it didn't take from my overall engagement with, and enjoyment in, this fantastic book.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very insightful

I have really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in Bacon.

The performance was really good however, there are a number of mistakes in the reading. That I would otherwise imagine would be edited out. Or can still be edited out.

You hear when Charles clears his throat. reread's parts of the book.
Over all he does a great job. And has the perfect voice for the book. It needs some small edits is all.

As for the book its self . Is incredibly thorough in the story telling of his life. A great book.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Sooo informative

Converted me from being meh about bacon to an appreciated of his work. Very full biography

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book, Terrible production.

Well researched and engagingly written book. Terrible narration and production though! The former is insipid and Jackanory-like with fluffed words. The latter - what happened? There must be about 20 gaps and repeats of lines and I'm only 1/4 way through. So unworthy of the writers and their subject.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lovely Details

As an art lover, it was great to learn about one of my favourite artists in more detail and I enjoyed the extensive background provided as well.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Important book, good narration, lousy production

Love the detail in this story and the narration is actually good but the narrator made a lot of errors. It isn’t bad...he sentences when he makes mistakes, Its just shoddy.. Hopefully they will fix it!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Biography

This is an excellent and compelling story of the life and work of this great British / Irish painter. The narration is flawless. I didn't want it to end. It's revealing, of course and full of humour. It captures Bacon's genius, his humanity and compassion with out being sentimental. Highly recommended.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book - well read - but terribly badly produced

Probably the definitive biography of painter Francis Bacon. Clearly a huge amount of research has gone into writing this life story and which gives a very rounded picture of such an important and unique artist.

It is just really sad that no one seems to have done any editing of this spoken version of the book as there are repeated hesitations and stumblings in the narration by Charles Armstrong which could so easily have been edited out. Such a shame because it spoils one’s enjoyment of this really fascinating book.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous Book

I found this a fascinating biography of a great artist. It is obviously very well researched with a great amount of information on FB yet nothing felt unnecessary. The narrator has an excellent speaking voice which was a pleasure to listen to.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

fascinating, but

this is as much a social history of a particular group in the 2nd half of the 20thC as about Francis Bacon's art. perhaps an audiobook is the wrong medium for a book about art - the absence of visual representation is frustrating: but on its own terms it is fascinating and well read, but for the regular false starts which really should be edited out. nonetheless, recommended

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!