Illustrator: Aubrey Vincent Beardsley 1872-1898

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley was born in Brighton on 21 August 1872 and early showed artistic ability, acting and playing in concerts with his sister Mabel and producing drawings of recognized merit. The Beardsley family’s means were modest, and by 1888 Aubrey had quit school to work as a clerk. At the age of nineteen Aubrey Beardsley embarked on a career as an illustrator, and with the encouragement of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes in France and Joseph Pennell in England he quickly made a name for himself. His fame was ensured with the publication of the Dent edition of Malory’s “LE MORTE DARTHUR” in 1892, and by the following year the “Beardsley boom” was in full flower.

In 1894 Beardsley became the art editor of ” THE YELLOW BOOK” under the general editorship of Oscar Wilde, but his advancing tuberculosis and Wilde’s arrest put an end to that satirical periodical before 1895 was out. Beardsley’s increasingly poor health forced his move from health resort to health resort, but under the patronage of André Raffalovich he continued, despite severe difficulties, to produce his drawings. In 1896 alone he created numerous illustrations for “THE SAVOY, THE RAPE OF THE LOCK”, and “LYSISTRATA”. During 1897 Aubrey Beardsley’s health continued to decline as serious work became increasingly difficult and his creative output dwindled. His death occurred at Menton, France, on 16 March 1898.

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