Nathaniel Bacon (painter, fl. 1640)

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Sir Nathaniel Bacon (fl. 1640) was an English painter.


Bacon was the seventh son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, 1st Baronet, of Redgrave; Sir Nathaniel of Stiffkey, High Sheriff of Norfolk in 1599, was his uncle. He lived at Culford, in Suffolk, on an estate given to him by his father. There is a monument to him in the church there, and one to his wife, Jane Meautys, the widow of Sir William Cornwallis. He is there described as 'well skilled in the history of plants, and in delineating them with his pencil.' Walpole speaks of him as having 'really attained the perfection of a master.'

Bacon studied painting in Italy, but his style was more Flemish than Italian. In Walpole's time there were works of his to be seen at Culford, where he lived, and at Gorhambury House. At the latter place is a 'Cookmaid with dead fowls,' painted 'with great nature,' and a much-admired portrait of himself. The latter is engraved in the 'Anecdotes' of Walpole. He painted a 'Ceres' and a 'Hercules,' and left some paintings at Redgrave Hall, Suffolk, his father's seat. In a note to Walpole is a recipe for the preparation of a particular 'browne-pinke' colour used by the said Nathaniel, which was 'so very good' that a certain painter, 'P. Oliver, did highly commend it, and used none other to his dyinge day, wherewith, and with Indian lake, he made sure expressions of those deep and glowing shadows in those histories he copied after Titian, that no painting should appear more warm and fleshy than those of his hand'! He was created a knight of the Bath at the coronation of Charles I, and was living in 1648.[1]

He had three children, of whom Nicholas and Jane died unmarried, and Anne, his heiress, married, firstly, her cousin. Sir Thomas Meautys, and secondly. Sir Harbottle Grimston. From this second marriage are descended the earls of Verulam, the owners of the famous Gorhambury estate.


  1. ^ (Wills at Bury St. Edmunds, ed. S. Tymms, Camden Soc. p. 216)

 "Bacon, Nathaniel (fl.1640)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.