Monday, December 21, 2015
Aubrey Beardsley Posters
Sadly, these days, interest in Aubrey Beardsley has waned somewhat. From the 1960s to the 1980s however it was a different story altogether and you couldn't move in London poster shops for cheap reproductions of Beardsley drawings. At the height of this interest, in 1983, Beardsley was considered such an important British artist that The V&A and The British Council sent an exhibition of his work to tour Japan. Most of the items came from the V&A's own collection but many were also 'borrowed-in' from the big collectors of the time. The catalogue for the exhibition is well worth any current Beardsley aficionado getting hold of as, although most of the text is in Japanese, the reproductions are very fine, the vast selection includes many rarely seen items and all the catalogue descriptions are translated into English at the back.
Among those rarely seen items are these posters from the mid-1890s on which Beardsley's artwork was used, including one advertising children's books with the slightly incongruous image of a very busty lady who appears almost tied together by a single brooch at her cleavage. The poster for The Keynote series is a reissue by the book and art dealer Anthony D'Offay in 1966 but the rest, in the exhibition were 1890s originals. Despite the depressed interest in Beardsley now if you found one of these in the attic you would still get a pretty penny at auction.