Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon, 1998

Still from Love is the Devil, 1998. Directed by John Maybury.

Still from Love is the Devil, 1998. Directed by John Maybury.

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain. To celebrate, Towner presents a series of screenings and events to explore the last fifty years of LGBT+ experiences in the UK.


Featuring award-winning performances from Derek Jacobi and a fresh-faced, pre-Bond Daniel Craig, Love is the Devil tells the story of painter Francis Bacon, concentrating on his strained, short-lived relationship with small-time thief, George Dyer. With an astonishing supporting cast, time and space is warped as director John Maybury inserts young British artists of the moment – Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Gillian Wearing to name a few – into scenes at the Colony Room club, where Bacon famously drank in the ‘60s.

“Love Is the Devil is a devilish brew of naturalism, Baconesque film effects, history and gossip. It is a warped anthropological detour into the fag end of 1950s Soho bohemia, dragged too far into the 1960s but it is also a tragic love story, with astonishing performances and character cameos.” – Adrian Searle, The Guardian

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