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Peppiatt, Michael. Francis Bacon in Your Blood: A Memoir In his memoir of Francis Bacon - ‘Artist of the Macabre’ as labelled by the New York Times - Michael Pepppiatt gets right under the skin of his subject. Even when abroad, in Paris or New York, he is forever trying to ‘get more to grips intellectually and imaginatively with Francis’s paintings.’ He sees himself as Boswell to Bacon’s Johnson, or, more revealingly perhaps, as a son seeking a father figure, for Peppiatt was never close to his father, and this memoir is as much to do with the writer as its nominal subject, Peppiatt having already written Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma. So to say that the critic is a mere ‘follower’of the artist would be to make a gross understatement. In this book he in a sense becomes Bacon. He is no mere shadow, but a torch-bearer, never afraid to boast that he belongs spiritually to ‘the greatest living artist since Picasso.’ Of course not everyone would agree that the painter of the grotesquely distorted popes, for example, is in the same league as the Spanish master, and as far as the general public is concerned they would be more likely to agree with George, the subject of so many of Bacon’s most celebrated works - who incidentally gets no mention in the index and eventually committed suicide - that Bacon’s work is ‘f***in’ ‘orrible.’ George is an example of Bacon’s attraction to the ordinary down-and out, a professional thief who finds in his master-painter a convenient source of income and gracious living. Whether the relationship was ever more than a so-called ‘marriage of convenience’ is never made explicit, but from what we know of Bacon’s predilection for sexual partners it seems likely that the artist used his model in the expected way. One might expect Peppiatt’s sexual nature to come under scrutiny as the closest friend of the artist, but he appears to be firmly heterosexual, although his intimate relationships are not part of his story. Bacon in fact accepts his friend’s preference and is perfectly charming to his biographer’s women friends, but when Peppiatt eventually admits to having married and produced an offspring, Bacon is appalled. ‘Just do it in and get rid of it altogether,’ he declares in a fit of anger, as if the joy of becoming a parent is the most obscene folly a human being can commit. The book ends rather sadly with Bacon, the host of so many delightful gatherings, dying while his friend is in New York. Although he said he wanted oblivion and his work destroyed, in fact the reverse has happened: ‘No artist since Van Gogh,’ proclaims Peppiatt, ‘has grown so powerfully in mythical stature from beyond the grave as Francis Bacon.’