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Bacon was one of the most prolific and successful sculptors of his day. He was particularly esteemed for monuments, including one to the philanthropist Thomas Guy, for Guy’s Hospital (where it can still be seen). This bust was developed from the head of a cadaverous figure who is depicted in that monument, being helped to his feet by Guy. Bacon presented the bust to the Royal Academy when he was elected an Academician in 1778. Its fine bone structure and taut skin convey illness. So too, perhaps, does the surface of the marble which is unpolished and slightly weathered in appearance.