Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Beardsley (Aubrey) Collection
Beardsley coll.  
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical Note
  • Processing History
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement

  • Contributing Institution: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
    Title: Aubrey Beardsley Collection
    Creator: Beardsley, Aubrey, 1872-1898
    Identifier/Call Number: Beardsley coll.
    Physical Description: 1.92 Linear feet (2 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1884-2003
    Abstract: 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.
    Physical Location: Clark Library.
    Language of Material: English .

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection open for research.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    This collection is an artificial collection built over time by Clark Library staff; it did not originate in one single purchase. Where known, accession numbers and acquisition information is cited for each item in the container listing below.

    Biographical Note

    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.
    Sources consulted:
    * "Beardsley, Aubrey Vincent" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/1821 , accessed January 2023.
    * Matthew Sturgis, Chapter 1 excerpt of "Aubrey Beardsley: A Biography", New York Times Book Review (online). New York Times. https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/sturgis-beardsley.html , accessed January 2023.

    Processing History

    This collection was previously inventoried and described in a series of in-house Clark Library guides beginning around 1998. Many items included here retain previous call number information written in pencil on the items themselves.
    The collection was physically rehoused and re-described in August 2023 by Rebecca Fenning Marschall.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection consists of the Clark Library's collection of Aubrey Beardsley material, and is an artificial collection, built over time and from many acquisition sources. Items include original drawings, prints, prospectuses for published works, posters, and portfolios of published prints.


    Items are arranged in roughly chronological order.