Aubrey Beardsley at Tate Britain, London, through May 25, 2020*

“Tate Britain’s major new exhibition celebrates the brief but astonishing career of Aubrey Beardsley. Although he died tragically young at the age of just 25, Beardsley’s strange, sinuous black-and-white images have continued to shock and delight for over a century. Bringing together 200 spectacular works, this is the largest display of his original drawings in over 50 years and the first exhibition of his work at Tate since 1923.

Beardsley (1872-98) became one of the enfants terribles of fin-de-siècle London, best remembered for illustrating Oscar Wilde’s controversial play Salomé. His opulent imagery anticipated the elegance of Art Nouveau but also alighted on the subversive and erotic aspects of life and legend, shocking audiences with a bizarre sense of humour and fascination with the grotesque. Beardsley was prolific, producing hundreds of illustrations for books, periodicals and posters in a career spanning just under seven years. Line block printing enabled his distinct black-and-white works to be easily reproduced and widely circulated, winning notoriety and admirers around the world, but the original pen and ink drawings are rarely seen. Tate Britain exhibits a huge array of these drawings, revealing his unrivalled skill as a draughtsman in exquisite detail.” — Tate Britain

Aubrey Beardsley works

Illustration for Oscar Wilde’s Salome, 1893.
The Peacock Skirt. Line block print on paper. Stephen Calloway. Photo: © Tate

Self-Portrait 1892

Self Portrait, 1892.
Ink on paper. British Museum

Aubrey Beardsley works

The Yellow Book Volume I, 1894. Bound volume. Stephen Calloway. Photo: © Tate

How la Beale Isoud Wrote to Sir Tristram c.1893

How la Beale Isoud Wrote to Sir Tristram, c.1893. Ink on paper, 
276 x 215 mm. Alessandra and Simon Wilson

Volpone Adoring his Treasure 1898

Volpone Adoring his Treasure, 1898. Ink over graphite on paper, 290 x 204 mm. Courtesy of the Princeton University Library

How Arthur saw the Questing Beast 1893

How Arthur saw the Questing Beast, 1893. Ink and wash on paper, 378 x 270 mm. Victoria and Albert Museum

Frederick Evans - Portrait of Aubrey Beardsley

Frederick Evans, 1853-1943.
Portrait of Aubrey Beardsley, 1893. Photo-etching and platinum print on paper, 115 x 165 mm. Wilson Centre for Photography

Aubrey Beardsley is organised by Tate Britain in collaboration with the Musée d’Orsay, Paris. It is curated by Caroline Corbeau-Parsons, Curator of British Art 1850-1915, and Stephen Calloway with Alice Insley, Assistant Curator, Historic British Art.

Images courtesy Tate Britain.

*PLEASE NOTE: Tate Britain is temporarily closed until at least 1 May, in line with advice from Public Health England.