11324

AN INTERESTING CIRCULAR CENTER TABLE SET WITH A COLLAGE OF LITERARY AND EROTIC PRINTS BY AUBREY BEARDSLEY

Probably English. Circa 1960s or 1970s.

Measurements

Height: 29" (73.7 cm)
Diameter: 48" (121.9 cm).

Research
Of wood and printed paper sheets. The circular top with square edge above a plain frieze. The square stem rests upon a square stepped base with ebonized ogee molded edge. Virtually all surfaces covered in a well planned collage of erotic and literary prints by Aubrey Beardsley.

Provenance:
The Collection of Duarte Pinto-Coelho, Spain.

This interesting center table is set with a collage of illustrations by the late nineteenth century artist and author Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898), whose works belong to an avante-garde movement which worshiped beauty, and criticized and satirized what they viewed as repressed Victorian society.

Born to an English middle class family, Beardsley suffered his first bout of tuberculosis at the age of nine; the disease would cause his lifelong fragile health and ultimately lead to his early death. In 1884 his mother fell ill, and he and his sister were sent to live with an aunt. He attended boarding school at the Bristol Grammar School, where he cultivated his talents for writing and illustrating. In 1889 Beardsley was sent to London to work in an insurance office, which he found tedious and before long turned his attention full time to his art. His mother, who had since regained her health, also went to London where she looked after her son for the rest of his life.

Beardsley enjoyed perhaps the most productive and important period of his career in the years 1893 and 1894. He provided illustrations and covers for books and periodicals, including his first commission of over 300 illustrations for J.M. Dent’s edition of Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. During this year Beardsley also made the acquaintance of writer and dandy Oscar Wilde, and provided the illustrations for the English version of Wilde’s scandalous play, Salome, beginning his rise to notoriety.

In 1894 his celebrity was solidified with the publication of The Yellow Book, an illustrated quarterly journal with literary and artistic content provided by progressive minds of the day include Walter Crane, Edmund Gosse, Sir Frederick Leighton and Henry James. The publication was also significant for its inclusion of female contributors and editors. However, after Wilde’s arrest for ‘gross indecency’ in 1895, the author’s alleged affiliation with the journal and his association with Beardsley caused the artist to be dismissed as The Yellow Book’s art editor. He was subsequently approached by the publisher Leonard Smithers, who was interested in creating a rival periodical, called The Savoy. Smithers was known for publishing erotic material and Beardsley took advantage of The Savoy as an outlet for his creative works in this genre. After the publication ceased production in 1896, Beardsley continued to illustrate other works for Smithers including The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope and the The Lysistrata of Aristophanes by Ben Jonson. Smithers also printed A Book of Fifty Drawings, a collected album of the works of Beardsley himself.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.