Aubrey Beardsley Design for the Frontispiece to John Davidson’s Plays 1894

Artwork details

Artist
Aubrey Beardsley 1872–1898
Title
Design for the Frontispiece to John Davidson’s Plays
Date 1894
Medium Ink and graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 286 x 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Bequeathed by John Lane 1926
Reference
N04172
Not on display

Display caption

This does not apparently show a scene from one of Davidson's plays, but is instead a series of caricatures of notable figures of the day. At the centre, the cloaked figure is Sir Augustus Harris, the manager of the Covent Garden, Drury Lane and Her Majesty's theatres. A corpulent Oscar Wilde is portrayed as Bacchus, and beside him the nude woman is Beardsley's sister Mabel, an actress. The faun is Henry Harland, literary editor of the 'Yellow Book', the masked figure is the poet Richard Le Gallienne, and the ballerina is the dancer Adeline Genee.

August 2004

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