Francis Bacon (1909 - 1992) was an English painter born in Ireland. He spent time in Berlin and Paris in 1926/7, then returned to London and started work as an interior designer before he became known as a painter. He worked intermittently up until 1944, when he painted the famous Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, which he considered his first good work.
He spent much of his mid-life drinking and socialising with the Soho crowd, many of whom are also mentioned as context in the novel, including Lucien Freud, Muriel Belcher, John Deakin.
In 2009, there was an exhibition about his life and work in Dublin, and the video below, prepared at that time, tells the story of his life and works.