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Francis Bacon

“Dear Ronnie”: letter from Bacon in Kray sale

The auction took place on 26th January

A letter from Francis Bacon to Ronnie Kray, one of the notorious Kray twins, was put up for auction on 26 January. The identical twins had been involved in armed robberies, violent assaults and murder in London’s East End, and were sentenced to life in 1969. Ronnie remained in Broadmoor until his death in 1995. Bacon’s letter of 27 September 1989 thanked Ronnie for a drawing (he took up art in Broadmoor), saying “I have been ill for some” (Bacon had kidney problems). Bacon was almost 80 at the time of the letter, and he had known the twins in the 1960s. He once remarked: “They were dreadful, of course, just killing people off and so on, but at least they were really different from everybody else.” Chiswick Auctions is selling off 144 lots of the twins’ personal effects, consigned by a family friend.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 199 February 2009