Born in 1872, dead at age 25, Aubrey Beardsley looked like Steerpike and like everyone in this irregular feature drew like no one else. I scratch in pen and ink and probably because I’m colour-blind so I’ve always loved Beardsley since long before I even knew his name. Noted as being the darkest of the Art Nouveau artists he co-founded the Yellow Book and Savoy magazine. He was a contemporary of Oscar Wilde, and that marvellous time and set that is as mythologized as anything he drew remains best so through his work.
Beardsley’s art is wonderful, decadent and evocative. He turned to Catholicism late in his brief life and recanted much of what he had produced, asking for it to be destroyed. Nonetheless he kept in character enough for it to be suggested he was rather closer to his sister than was wise before dying of tuberculosis like a proper artist. And yet he is immortal, the footprints he has left are rendered like no other.
But as ever it is the art that speaks, and why today - then Aubrey Beardsley, we are not worthy.