Log In

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley Edit Profile

artist , illustrator , author

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley was the English illustrator, the most influential draftsman of his era in England.

He was closely connected with the fin-de-siècle period.


Beardsley was born in Brighton, England, on 21 August 1872. His father, the son of a local jeweler, lost the money he had inherited, so his mother supported the family by giving music lessons and working as a governess.


In 1892 he attended the classes at the Westminster School of Art, then under Professor Brown.


Beardsley's first commission was Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory (1893), which he illustrated for the publishing house J. M. Dent and Company.

He co-founded The Yellow Book with American writer Henry Harland, and for the first four editions he served as Art Editor and produced the cover designs and many illustrations for the magazine.

By 1895 he had formed his mature style, characterized by a sinuously curving, hard line that enclosed interrelating areas of solid black and white.

Half-tones and textures were suggested by cross-hatching and stippling.

Brilliantly suited to his often precious literary inclinations, this style established him as a leading figure of the Art Nouveau movement.

He worked for magazines such as The Studio and The Savoy, of which he was a co-founder.

Beardsley was a caricaturist and did some political cartoons.


  • He is renowned for his dark and perverse images and grotesque erotica, which were the main themes of his works. His major illustration projects included an 1896 edition of The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope, and the collection A Book of Fifty Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley (1897). His influence was enormous, clearly visible in the works of the French Symbolists.


The year before his death he converted to Roman Catholicism.


Quotes from others about the person

  • “He was described by the art critic Roger Fry as "the Fra Angelico of Satanism. "”


  • Artists

    He is influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite school, including William Morris and the English decorative arts movement, Greek vase painting, and the Japanese print.


Although Beardsley was associated with the homosexual clique that included Oscar Wilde and other English aesthetes, the details of his sexuality remain in question.

Vincent Paul Beardsley


Ellen Agnus Pitt



Fred Brown