John Edwards was a bar manager from the East End of London, who Bacon met in 1974, a few years after the death of George Dyer. Edwards became one of the artist's closest and most trusted companions, developing an almost father son bond . He was probably the most important and significant relationship in Bacon's life. This study was done when Bacon was 79. He died three years later.
His relationship with the youthful figure of John Edwards was perhaps the catalyst for a shift both personally and artistically into a certain composure and restraint of composition. Vigorous painterly smears and gross distortions of flesh are replaced by more subtle and diffused colorations of skin.