Bacon's Portrait of Seated Woman (with Foul Mouth) ; Altered Images: Francis Bacons Iconic Painting of Feisty Barmaid Muriel Belcher

Daily Mail (London), December 8, 2007 | Go to article overview

Bacon's Portrait of Seated Woman (with Foul Mouth) ; Altered Images: Francis Bacons Iconic Painting of Feisty Barmaid Muriel Belcher


Byline: Liam Lacey

SHE was the famously foulmouthed club boss who served up free drinks toa struggling Francis Bacon.

And now, almost three decades after her death, a painting of Muriel Belcher bythe celebrated Dublin-born artist is set to fetch a massive E10million atauction.

The portrait, called Seated Woman, is an oil-on-canvas work in Baconsdistinctive style.

It is one of several paintings of Belcher completed by the artist.

The pair first met in 1948, the day after Belcherwho was a lesbianopened her Colony Room drinking club in a drab first-floor premises in LondonsSoho.

Within weeks, she offered the flamboyantly gay Bacon drinks on the house aswell as a [pounds sterling]10-a-week retainer to bring in well-heeled friends and associates.

Notoriously rude, Belcher habitually addressed people she didnt like by usingthe most offensive sexual swear wordalthough by appending the letter y to the end of the same word, she claimed sheturned it into a term of affection. For his part, Bacon was known as daughterArtists muse: Muriel Belcher while Belchers ultimate accolade was to addresssomeone, male or female, as Mary.

When she died in 1979, the long-serving barman Ian Boardwhom she called Idatook over the running of the Colony Room until his own death in 1994. …

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