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This Britain

Artist's 'lie' over meeting gay lover

It is one of the most celebrated meetings in 20th-century art. But new testimony casts doubt on the mythical first encounter between Francis Bacon and his young lover George Dyer, who was the subject of dozens of his works of art.

Bacon himself claimed he caught Dyer burgling his apartment in the early 1960s, a version of events related in the Bacon biopic Love is the Devil starring Derek Jacobi and Daniel Craig. Not so, says Dyer's brother Lee, who broke his silence in an interview for a major examination of Bacon's life to be screened on BBC2 on Saturday. They were more likely to have met in a gay club, but the burglar story was concocted to protect Dyer's mother from the truth.

Lee Dyer said: "I think personally he may have made that story up because he didn't want to say to my mother how he'd met him.I was told a little while ago that he met him in a club."