Marcus submitted this book a very long time ago and I’ve been holding off using it because there is so much more to this book than its very beautiful cover. The book is filled with the most incredible illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley and I’d like to showcase them, so I’ve decided to change things up a bit. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to dive into this book and savour it, a few delightful illustrations at a time. The book has been republished many times, but in the above photos, Marcus is holding his very rare, limited edition (only 300 copies made).
Bearsley was only 19 when he began the artwork for this book and was working as a clerk in an insurance firm at the time. Dent saw the artist’s potential and hired him on cheaply, hoping to produce a high-quality edition that was affordable for the masses. Beardsley’s artwork exceeded all expectations. In all, there are over 1,000 illustrations and decorations in the book and many have gone on to live in fine art collections around the world. Beardsley died of tuberculosis a mere 4 years later, but he left behind an incredible body of work. I can’t possibly show all 1,000 decorations in the book, but I will show you the best of the full and double-page illustrations plus a selection of borders and chapter headings to give you a good overall flavour of the grotesque, macabre, erotic world that Beardsley created.
edit, July 7/20. The edition that Marcus is holding is from 1893 and not 1927, as I had originally noted, and I’ve made the correction. Thanks to Flex for the wealth of information.
Let’s start with a look at the detail of a few monograms and full-page border decorations.
Artwork via: Enchanted Booklet