Exhibition of paintings by Jean Bacon

(with photographs by Ken Moody)

February 5 – 16  2005,    Art Centre

King's College,   Cambridge

Index to selected paintings,  January 2005

Photos of the exhibition in King's Art Centre

Private and Public Viewers in King's College

Photos of Provence on view at the exhibition

Photos of autumn flowers on view at the exhibition


Exhibition opening hours,  February 5 – 16  2005

The exhibition can be visited whenever the Art Centre is open.  At weekends we shall be there from 11 am until 4 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.   One of us will also be at the Art Centre every day throughout the week between 12 noon and 2 pm.  The Art Centre is at the top of A staircase, the entrance to which is in the SE corner of the Front Court, see the map.

The paintings in the outer room are essentially representational.   One group develops a long experience of painting flowers in particular, now branching into fruit, and seeds and suchlike.  The second group was strongly influenced by a visit to Provence in 2004.  We had stayed in the Luberon, and were much taken by the warm colours of the villages, the landscape and the lavender fields.  There are two groups of photos in the outer room, also derived from that holiday.   Those of Provence are on display among the paintings of the roofs of St Saturnin and the lavender fields, while by the door there are autumn flowers, close to the more flowery of the paintings.

Jean has been experimenting with abstraction during the years since her last exhibition in 1998.  This abstraction has taken three main forms: first, free extrapolation from the natural, as with the still-life-with-fruit paintings grouped round Melissa Lane; secondly, the geometrical designs derived from Frank Lloyd Wright's covers for Liberty magazine; finally the essentially abstract, many of them featuring strongly coloured horizontals, sometimes with landscape overtones.

Background to the exhibition

We had driven to Provence in September 2004, where we stayed at the stylish old town house  –  a village house, really   –  in St.Saturnin-lès-Apt, owned by our neighbours in Blythburgh, David Henderson and Frances Sloan.  There is an ochre quarry about 5 km from St Saturnin, and the colours run through the villages and the landscape.  Jean painted the roofscapes from the top window of the house during the heat of the day, and developed a palate new to her, which rapidly became a trusted friend.  Ken photographed the village, the landscape and the ochre quarry as an aide memoire after our return home.  We had driven down through the Alps, staying for a few days near the Col des Aravis, and came back via the Vercors.   There were terrific flowers in both areas, and photos of those became another essential memory of the holiday.

The three thumbnails are directly related to the exhibition.  The photograph on the left, taken on the top floor of the house in St Saturnin, shows the artist relaxing after struggling with the contours of the tiles on the roofs that surround it.  The photograph of the painting in the middle was taken in January 2005, together with the only other two for which detailed images are at present available.  Finally, the view of the chapel through the window of the Art Centre was taken on the first day of the exhibition, which was brilliantly sunny.


Thanks to King's College for the use of the Art Centre in February 2005.

Rose and Nelson Rands

Rose was a counsellor and a support to Jean Bacon over many years, even when Rose was already very ill, and was the direct inspiration for the exhibition in February 2005.  Rose died in November 2007 after a long illness.  Nelson has always been at hand, helping and encouraging, and with Rose as Artistic Director, organised the hanging of the exhibition at King's.