Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898) was only 25 when he died from tuberculosis, but in his short life he established a reputation as one of the most accomplished – and controversial – illustrators of his day, whose contribution to the visual language of Art Nouveau was profound. Astonishingly, all his work was created in the course of only six years, and is today instantly recognizable for its use of black ink and flowing lines on white paper – and its erotically charged subject matter. Not all his work was lubricious – some of it was political, poking fun at the decadent mores of the time – but much of it was, taking its stylistic inspiration from Japanese shunga and Greek vase painting and its thematic inspiration from mythology, history, poetry and drama.
This beautifully designed, accessibly priced gift book offers a wealth of illustrations by Beardsley, and introduces his exquisitely wrought drawings and prints to a new audience. With a text by Jan Marsh and around 110 illustrations from the extensive collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, this book brings together a carefully curated selection of works from Beardsley’s tragically short but highly productive life.