The English illustrator and writer, Aubrey Vincent Beardsley, was born 143 years ago, on August 21, 1872. Known for his unique illustration style, a blending of Art Nouveau and Japanese print aesthetics, Beardsley gained popularity with the 1893 Dent edition of Le Morte d’Arthur. He would later illustrate Oscar Wilde’s Salomé (1894) – a portfolio of designs for this book is available in our collection – which made him famous. Our William Colgate Printing Collection includes two further examples of his work, these published by Stone & Kimball in 1894: The frontispiece for W.B. Yeats’ The Land of Heart’s Desire and frontispiece and vignette for the title and cover of John Davidson’s Plays. Later editions of his work in children’s books and fairy tales are also available for consultation.
Beardsley’s work can also be found in our journal collection – in the earliest issues of The Studio, and as illustrator and art editor of The Yellow Book. His bookplates may be found in our monograph collection and in our online Philippe Masson Ex-Libris Collection.
Bearsdley died in France on March 16, 1898.