A collection of six canvas fragments from Francis Bacon's Screaming Pope series has sold at Ewbank Auctions in Surrey, UK on March 21.
The artworks were all painted on the back of framed canvases, which were then used by amateur artist Lewis Todd, who was unaware that the partial sections were actually produced by one of Britain's most respected painters.
Bacon, renowned for his highly self-critical methods, would often paint on the unprimed reverse of canvases before allowing himself to complete a piece on the front.
The top price achieved of the six works was £27,544 ($41,704), paid by a telephone bidder for a canvas showing the leg of a chair and a glimpse of the pope's clothing. A further three similar works followed, achieving a combined total of £44,822 ($68,103).
In November 2012, one of the masterpieces of Bacon's Screaming Pope series sold with a 19% increase on estimate at $29.7m.
As testament to the power of any Bacon work at auction, a simple piece showing just some blue background brushstrokes made £11,268 ($17,061).
Todd, who died in 2006 aged 81, was a caricaturist who turned fine artist following the second world war. He was given the canvases to practise on by local art suppliers Heffer, who also provided supplies to Bacon.
Bacon led a wide and varied career as an artist, and as such, his work can be found in various unusual formats. In September 2012, two rugs he designed during a stint as an interior designer appeared at auction.
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