The Art of Aubrey Beardsley: Le Morte Darthur

A few of the smaller, deceptively simple figure studies today. I love the way Beardsley captures so much complexity using high-contrast, geometric lines. It’s hard to believe that he was only 19 when he began work on this book.

 

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

The Art of Aubrey Beardsley: Le Morte Darthur

Today I’m sharing a few of the smaller portraits from the book. The last illustration is one of my favourites. Beardsley uses negative space brilliantly, and his simple line drawings create compellingly complex faces.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

 

Artwork via: Enchanted Booklet

The Art of Aubrey Beardsley: Le Morte Darthur

Many of the figures in Beardsley’s work are androgenous, and as you can imagine, this created quite a stir during the Victorian times in which they were published. Despite the controversy, or perhaps because of it, Beardsley’s work was well-considered in art circles and the book sold moderately well. Over the next few days, I’ll be posting some of the more well-known figures in the book, but I wanted to introduce a few select examples today as a signpost to the overarching theme of androgyny.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur.

 

Artwork via: Enchanted Booklet

The Art of Aubrey Beardsley: Le Morte Darthur

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Le Morte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. LeMorte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

 

Artwork via: Enchanted Booklet

The Art of Aubrey Beardsley – Le Morte Darthur

Today it’s a peek at the Kingdom and a few courtiers.

Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley. Morte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley. Morte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

Plus a bonus taste of some page headers.

Artwork by Aubrey Beardsley. Morte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley. Morte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

 

Artwork via: The Enchanted Booklet

 

The Art of Book Design: Le Morte D’Arthur

Sir Thomas Malory. Le Morte Darthur. Illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley. Limited First Edition, J. M. Dent and Sons, 1893.

Sir Thomas Mallory. Le Morte Darthur. Illustrations by Aubrey Bardsley. Limited First Edition, J. M. Dent and Sons, 1893.

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.

Le Morte Darthur, Dent and Sons, 1927.

Let’s start with a look at the detail of a few monograms and full-page border decorations.

Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley. Morte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley. Morte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley. Morte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley. Morte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley. Morte Darthur. Dent and Sons, 1927.

 

Artwork via: Enchanted Booklet

 

The Art of Book Design: The Latch Key of my Bookhouse

Olive Beaupre Miller, ed. Various authors and illustrators. The Latch key of My Bookhouse. Chicago, The Bookhouse for Children, 1922.

This is a curious book about the origin of shared stories and fairy tales. I found the most exciting part of the book to be its several indexes. Located at the end of the book, they are organized by author, character, historical era, geographical location and ethical themes, such as cleanliness, compassion, honesty, and faithfulness. Christian faithfulness that is. The book casually assumes a white, protestant readership, and the Values Index reads as a How-To book for raising quiet, compliant children who become hard-working, modest, reserved, compliant adults (living in a racist, xenophobic, patriarchal, misogynistic society) who don’t question authority. Bah! Teach your kids to question everything, to value learning new things and new perspectives, to seek equanimity and fairness, to speak with confidence, and to actively create a world that everyone wants to live in. A sampling of the illustrations is attached below the fold.

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