This guide describes the Clark Library's collection of Aubrey Beardsley material, and includes original drawings, prints,
prospectuses for published works, posters, and portfolios of published prints.
Aubrey Beardsley was born in Brighton, England in 1872 to Ellen Agnus Pitt and Vincent Paul Beardsley. Vincent had inherited
a small fortune from his father, but had lost most of it by the time Aubrey and his older sister Mabel were born. Their family
(which also included sister Mabel, born in 1871) moved from Brighton to London in 1883 and struggled economically, as Vincent
worked unsuccessfully in a variety of clerical jobs. Aubrey contracted tuberculosis when he was 7, though his case was mild
for most of his childhood; his first real outbreak came in 1889. He left school in 1888 and found work as a clerk. Soon after,
he began drawing and studied art briefly at the Westminster School of Art. After being discovered by art journalist Aymer
Vallance in 1892, Aubrey began creating a public persona for himself and establishing his black-and-white linear drawing style,
which was particularly suited to new developments in printing. Throughout the early 1890s, Beardsley's fame and notoriety
continued to grow, as he illustrated Oscar Wilde's Salome and co-founded the magazine The Yellow Book. His often erotic and
grotesque work, as well as his eccentric persona were often controversial, and his association with Wilde somewhat damaged
his reputation after Wilde's 1895 arrest for "gross indecency." Beardsley's health became increasingly worse after 1896, and
he died in Menton, France in 1898 at the age of 25.