A Master of Darkness and Distortion

The ball was given by a Lady Rothermere, but it was Princess Margaret everyone would remember, in typical, regrettable form. She had gotten hold of a microphone and was belting out Cole Porter, passionately off-key, and trying to dance (“wriggling,” according to one observer). The crowd responded with dutiful enthusiasm — all except one man, who began to loudly boo, until Margaret fled, near tears.

“It was that dreadful man, Francis Bacon,” the writer Caroline Blackwood recalled one guest saying. “He calls himself a painter but he does the most frightful paintings. I just don’t understand how a creature like him was allowed to get in here. It’s really quite disgraceful.”

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