Cumpston Research

Joshua was born at Putney on June 1 1970, the son of a Judge. Known as a child for his violent inclinations, he was educated at St. Edward's School Oxford, where his housemaster observed 'Joshua will be known'.

On his 18th birthday he was presented with membership of the Colony Room Club by the publisher Tom Hartman, with whose daughter Joshua was friendly.

The Soho artists' and loafers' hang-out was an appropriate setting for the garrulous and sociable young man.

He valued his friendship with local publicans in Shoreditch as much as he did that with Gilbert and George who championed Compston and featured him in a number of their works.

With his mane of blond hair and his loud checked waistcoats, Compston appeared a cross between a patrician English squire and a wild-eyed Marxist revolutionary. He loved words and loved to talk: his exhibition invitationswould feature rambling diatribes which functioned as proposals or hypotheses, partly ironic, partly serious.

Although there was the air of the dandy about him, Compston was fearless. On one occasion a large, drunken and violent visitor to an FN private view was hauled singlehandedly into the street by Compston, who then talked the trouble maker into obedience with a complex metaphysical argument. Later that evening Compston was dancing on the tables himself.

Newspaper cutting in my possession but untitled.


[005186] BACON, FRANCIS. L'arc: Francis Bacon. Paris: Duponchelle, 1990. First Edition. Small 4to. Original Wraps. Association Copy. Inscribed By Artist. Very Good / N/A. Inscribed by Francis Bacon 'To Joshua from Francis Bacon' (faint inscription, signature crisp), texts in French, plain and colour plates, original pictorial card covers, minor light wear. Uncommon Bacon inscribed French publication. the copy is inscribed to Joshua Compston who was a pivotal personality in the Shoreditch art scene of the mid 1990s, until his death at the age of 25 in March 1996. He was a hugely enigmatic figure and seminally important in bringing together the YBA's of the 1990s in London. A fascinating association copy between two great enfants terribles of the British art world. Signed/inscribed copies by Francis Bacon are scarce. £850.00

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