image bacon p4
Image number: RS.9655
Credit: ©The Royal Society
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Portrait of Francis Bacon


ca. 1617-1620


Francis Bacon (1561-1626, British), Philosopher


Studio of Paulus van Somer I (1576-1621, Flemish), Painter

Object type



height (painting): 1120mm
width (painting): 850mm



Half-length portrait of Francis Bacon, standing, his left arm leaning on a table upon which rests a bag holding the Great Seal of England, signifying his office as its Keeper (1617). This hand holds a paper addressed “To the Hon:ble Francis Lord Verulam Ld. Chancller of England”. Bacon is shown wearing a doublet and black gown, the sleeves embroidered in gold, with white lace cuffs. He wears a round white ruff and a black hat at a slight angle. Bacon has long, natural hair with a beard and is presented against a background of red drapery.

Object history

Bequeathed by Martin Folkes FRS, 1754.

The bequest from Martin Folkes’s will is recorded in Council Minutes: “...he [the President] further acquainted them, that the said Mr William Folkes and Mrs Lucretia Folkes, the Executors of the said Will had also Sent to the Society The Lord Bacon’s Picture bequeathed to them by the Said Will for which Mr Hauksbee had given a Receipt.“ [Royal Society Council Minutes, Original, CMO/4, meeting of 21 November 1754]. The will stated: “I do give to the Royal Picture of the Great Lord Chancellor Bacon.” [Will of Martin Folkes of Hillingdon, Norfolk, 3 July 1754, National Archives, PROB/11/809].

Martin Folkes presented pictures of himself (by Hogarth) and Isaac Newton (by Vanderbank) in addition to this work.

Associated place

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