N04423 MESSALINA RETURNING HOME 1895
Pencil and Indian ink, later tinted with watercolour, 11×7 (28×18).
Purchased from the Antiquarian Guild Ltd (Duveen Drawings Fund) with the aid of a subscription from A. L. Assheton 1928.
Coll: Leonard Smithers;...; the Hon. Evan Morgan, sold 1928 to the Antiquarian Guild Ltd.
Exh: International Society, 1898 (169, repr.), as ‘Messalina returning from the Bath’; Tate Gallery, 1923–4 (37).
Lit: Vallance in Fifty Drawings, 1897, p.210, as ‘Messalina returning home’; Vallance in Ross, 1909, p.99, No.126, as ‘Messalina’, and p.109.
Repr: Early Work, 1899, pl.79 (without colouring); Aubrey Beardsley, A Second Book of Fifty Drawings, 1899, p.195 (without colouring); Later Work, 1920 ed., pl.63 (without colouring); Best of Beardsley, 1948, No.52 (without colouring); L'Oeil, No.90, June 1962, p.33.
There is another ink drawing, possibly for an ornamental initial, on the back, together with a guarantee dated 27 April 1898 by Leonard Smithers, the publisher and bookseller who paid Beardsley a regular allowance from the summer of 1895 in return for the exclusive copyright of all his future work; he is said, however, to have forged Beardsley's work after his death. This drawing was first published without colouring as an illustration to Juvenal's Sixth Satire, privately printed by Smithers in 1897; one of the four other drawings used is that normally referred to as ‘Messalina returning from the Bath’ (repr. Later Work, 1920 ed., pl.158). The Tate Gallery's drawing has hitherto been catalogued as ‘Messalina and her Companion’, but it seems best to return to the title used by Vallance in Fifty Drawings, a publication with which Beardsley himself was associated. The reproduction in the International Society's exhibition catalogue shows that the drawing had already been coloured by 1898.
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I