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At Tate Britain

Rosemary Hill: Aubrey Beardsley, 24 September 2020

... I represent things as I see them,’ Aubrey Beardsley said, ‘outlined faintly in thin streaks (just like me).’ Beardsley, who died at 25, passed his brief life in the fin-de-siècle milieu of Max Beerbohm and Oscar Wilde. Like them, he was his own artefact. Immensely thin and hollow-eyed with long fingers and a large nose, he seemed to the actress Elizabeth Robins, who met him at a lunch party, to be merely the ‘uncertain ghost of Oscar ...

Abbé Aubrey

Brigid Brophy, 2 April 1981

Aubrey BeardsleyAn Account of his Life 
by Miriam Benkovitz.
Hamish Hamilton, 226 pp., £8.95, February 1981, 0 241 10382 7
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... Something, certainly, to do with growing. A hundred or so pages further on, she suggests that Beardsley’s ‘iridescent interests’ may have ‘enlarged his stature’. What’s more, she describes A Book of Fifty Drawings (1897) as a monument to the 24-year-old Beardsley’s ‘iridescence and growth’. She could ...

The Same Old Solotaire

Peter Wollen, 4 July 1996

‘Salome’ and ‘Under the Hill’ 
by Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley.
Creation, 123 pp., £7.95, April 1996, 1 871592 12 7
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Aubrey BeardsleyDandy of the Grotesque 
by Chris Snodgrass.
Oxford, 338 pp., £35, August 1995, 0 19 509062 4
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... knowledge and is undisturbed by popular feeling’. The real victim, besides Wilde himself, was Aubrey Beardsley, who craved a popular audience and the celebrity that went with it. Yeats first met Beardsley at the launch party for the Savoy, the magazine founded by Arthur Symons and ...

Short Cuts

Christopher Tayler: King Charles the Martyr, 21 February 2019

... Jacobite League from laying a wreath at an equestrian statue of Charles I. The SKCM had more of an Aubrey Beardsley vibe. Greville-Nugent – who’s mentioned under her maiden name, Ogilvy, in one of Browning’s letters – published a book of Pre-Raphaelitish verse, and, according to a website about Afghan hounds, once owned the cave in which Robert ...

At Tate Britain (2)

Rosemary Hill: Kenneth Clark, 3 July 2014

... of Lord Clark as a young boy’ by Charles Sims (c.1911). ‘The Black Cape’ by Aubrey Beardsley (1894). ‘The Back of the Chair’ by Cézanne (c.1879). ‘The Young Paul Asleep’ by Cézanne (c.1878). Manet’s ‘A Bar at the Folies-Bergère’ (1881-82) and Cézanne’s ‘Mont Sainte-Victoire’ (c.1887). The Warburg ...

At the Nunnery Gallery

Eleanor Birne: Madge Gill, 24 January 2013

... enormous, extravagant feathered hats or square pillar-box ones. They look like the confections of Aubrey Beardsley. Others are younger with wispy hair and what might be flowers tucked behind their ears: it’s hard to tell, because background and ornament blend into each other in a complex series of recurring forms. One could imagine Gill designing ...


Ruth Dudley Edwards: Peddling Books, 21 January 1988

... Bodley Head rapidly became a succès de scandale as well as modestly profitable for some years. Aubrey Beardsley and Charles Ricketts were among the illustrators who often delighted and sometimes shocked public opinion; the young Max Beerbohm and Oscar Wilde among the best-known of the writers. And with the often splendid Yellow Book, first published ...

At Somerset House

Peter Campbell: Zaha Hadid, 16 December 2004

... perspectives borrow graphic conventions which were, so far as I know, the invention of Aubrey Beardsley. The drawings come to mind when you look at the buildings; away from the buildings the drawings take precedence, just as a cartoonist’s version of a face usurps the real one. Hadid’s graphics remind me of the steep perspectives and ...


Jonathan Meades: Archigram’s Ghost, 21 May 2020

Archigram: The Book 
edited by Dennis Crompton.
Circa, 300 pp., £95, November 2018, 978 1 911422 04 4
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... to George Melly, signalled by a ‘secret society’ that congregated at the party for the V&A’s Aubrey Beardsley exhibition in the summer of 1966. The next future would be looking backwards. Archigram’s architectural collages had always included ‘dolly birds’ and ‘get-away people’, ‘the fun set’ and ‘people in a hurry’ and other ...

How peculiar it is

Rosemary Hill: Gorey’s Glories, 3 June 2021

Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey 
by Mark Dery.
William Collins, 512 pp., £9.99, October 2020, 978 0 00 832984 6
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... imagery, as Dery notes, is in debt to the Surrealists, and, at times, in its use of line, to Aubrey Beardsley, but insofar as Gorey belongs to a genre it is the Romantic picturesque with its mood of inbetweenity; his favoured time is twilight and the recurrent mood is a shadowy, autumnal melancholy.If Gorey was not ‘half in love’ with death like ...


Elaine Showalter, 2 October 1997

Impossible Saints 
by Michèle Roberts.
Little, Brown, 308 pp., £14.99, May 1997, 0 316 63957 5
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... Roberts’s fiction is highly allusive – she can sound like Anita Brookner, Monique Wittig, Aubrey Beardsley or the Marquis de Sade – but it’s not generic. As a woman writer of the Nineties, she has inherited feminist literary criticism as well as feminist writing, and she deliberately invokes the devils and saints of women’s writing, its ...


Robert Walshe: Bumping into Beckett, 7 November 1985

... cape, black hat, black face, and piercing, ferocious black eyes. Toulouse-Lautrec admixed with Aubrey Beardsley out of Edvard Munch. It was Romain Gary who introduced me to the idea that books could be composed in motion, and made the more moving for it. We met in the Rue de Sèvres, in the Rue du Bac, in the Boulevard Saint-Germain. Our feet took us ...


Adrienne Mayor: Carthage, 24 June 2010

Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Mediterranean Civilisation 
by Richard Miles.
Allen Lane, 520 pp., £30, March 2010, 978 0 7139 9793 4
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... Parisian fashions. In the illustrated 1927 edition I read in the 1960s, Mahlon Blaine’s Aubrey Beardsley-on-ecstasy drawings made Flaubert’s tale even more eidetic. Written in 1862, during the French colonisation of North Africa, Salammbô has been criticised by modern scholars as ‘a rollercoaster ride of sexual sadism, extreme cruelty and ...

I myself detest all Modern Art

Anne Diebel: Scofield Thayer, 9 April 2015

The Tortured Life of Scofield Thayer 
by James Dempsey.
Florida, 240 pp., £32.50, February 2014, 978 0 8130 4926 7
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... at the Dial office and entertained writers in his flat, where there were rare first editions, Beardsley drawings, Chinese and Japanese furniture, a Japanese manservant called Oni (who subscribed to the Nation) and no chairs. The décor expressed both Thayer’s aesthetic lushness – Adolf Dehn portrayed him in a caricature as ‘le Byron de nos ...
by Jerry Hopkins.
Elm Tree, 275 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11548 5
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Alias David Bowie 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Hodder, 511 pp., £16.95, September 1986, 0 340 36806 3
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... most impressive collections of Victoriana. David was drawn to the glass case full of rare books by Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde. “Oh!” he cried. “You’ve got this one!” ’ Bowie did not want to pose as a respectable gay: under the new legislation it would be better to pose as a shocking and daring gay. He was not conspicuously gay in his ...

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