AUBREY VINCENT BEARDSLEY (1872-1898)
AESTHETIC MOVEMENT (c.1867-c.1900)
Lady Gold's Escort (England, c.1800 - c.1899)
Pen Brush Ink Paper
(11.02 inches high)
(7.01 inches wide)
Given by the artist to his friend Brandon Thomas
Reproduced on page 53 as Number II of Four Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley (Art Index Plate IV) in The Yellow Book, Volume III, published by John Lane, London and Copeland and Day, Boston, October, 1894.
Brian Reade, Aubrey Beardsley, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1966, illustrated, number 27.
Brian Reade, Aubrey Beardsley, London, 1967, page 346, illustrated, number 364.
Brigid Brophy, Black and White: A Portrait of Aubrey Beardsley, New York, 1969
Henry Maas, J L DUncan, W G Good (editors), The Letters of Aubrey Beardsley, London, 1970, page 76.
Description / Expertise
In 1894, Beardsley was at the height of his artistic career. At the beginning of this year he had collaborated with Henry Harland (1861-1905) to launch a quarterly periodical The Yellow Book, with himself as art editor and Harland as literary editor. Beardsley and Harland, both consumptive, had first met in their doctor's waiting room. The first two volumes of The Yellow Book were published by Lane and Matthews at the Bodley Head, the third subsequent volumes by Lane alone, still under the Bodley Head imprint.
During this period his work reflected something of his London life. A great enthusiast of the theatre and opera, his Lady Gold's Escort shows a theatrical excursion with exaggerated versions of the evening dress of the 1890s. Beardsley contributed the illustrations to The Yellow Book, Volume III of 1894 to some according to a letter of October of that year.
The image illustrates Beardsley's changing style due to his study of Greek vase painting in the British Museum. Decorative elements disappear to create greater linearity and clarity. Beardsley is clearly interested in the depiction of figures in the darkness of night, a problem he solves successfully by leaving white lines in reserve for the definition of forms.