John Henry Frederick Bacon M.V.O., A.R.A., (1865 - 1914)

John Henry Frederick Bacon M.V.O., A.R.A., (1865 - 1914) was a painter of domestic, genre, and biblical scenes, as well as an illustrator of books, periodicals and children's books. He became a very fashionable portrait painter of distinguished men. His best known work is "The City of London Imperial Volunteers Return to London from South Africa on Monday 29th October 1900" in the Guildhall, London. Bacon came soon after his marriage in 1894 to live in Pillar House where some of his seven children were born. The late Mrs Gwen Viner, a daughter of the village doctor Dr Rice, remembered coming with her sister to model for the artist. She also remembered that Mr Bacon would paint some of his biblical pictures in the barns adjoining the garden. In 1912 John Bacon was commissioned to do the Coronation Portrait of King George V and Queen Mary which hangs in Buckingham Palace. His paintings are in the Tate Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, other British galleries, the Reform Club, etc. and private collections. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and while living in Pillar House he showed the paintings "Suscipe me, Domine" (1895), "Peace be to you" (1897), and "The Ring" (1898). His address is given in the Royal Academy Exhibitors Catalogue as 'Pillar House, Harwell, Steventon, Berks'.

Sadly he died of acute bronchitis, age 49, on 24th January 1914 leaving a widow with seven children 19 to 4 years of age. The King and Queen heard of his death that evening and immediately sent a telegram of sympathy to Mrs Bacon, the widow.

(Local knowledge tells that Walter Hitchman, Eric James, Jack Harris and other village folk were used as models by Henry Bacon in "Suscipe me, Domine" and "The Doctor").


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