Who Was Beardsley?


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Aubrey Beardsley was a leading English illustrator in the 1890s and was a key figure in the Aestheticism movement. He died in 1898 while living in France.

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Born in Sussex, England, Aubrey Beardsley had a strong talent in drawing from early childhood, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Making a living as a clerk, his only professional instruction in drawing was through evening classes at the Westminister School of Art in 1891.

In 1893, Beardsely was commissioned to draw a new edition of Le Morte D'Arthur and then was appointed art editor and illustrator for The Yellow Book in 1894. He also illustrated Oscar Wilde's Salome, which boosted his career.

In 1895, Beardsely was dismissed from The Yellow Book for his involvement and beliefs in the Aestheticism movement. Encyclopedia Britannica states that he moved on to illustrate for The Savoy and Alexander Pope's "Rape of the Lock" in 1896. However, due to delicate health since an early age, Beardsley suffered many bouts of tuberculosis beginning at the age of 6. The disease left him an invalid in 1896, at age 24. After being received into the Roman Catholic Church, he went to live in France, where he died the next year at age 25.

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