Beardsley and the Book Illustrators an exhibition at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery in the Parkinson Building at the University of Leeds.
Aubrey Beardsley, one of the most celebrated and controversial book illustrators of the Art Nouveau era, is featured in an exhibition at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery.
The exhibition presents Beardsley’s black and white fantasy world at once wondrous, monstrous, and exotic in context, celebrating the richness and variety of the medium of book illustration in Britain, during the vibrant period between 1890 and the 1920s.
The exhibition also showcases works by other major illustrators of the era, including Arthur Rackham, Harry Clarke, Edmund Dulac, Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway, Kay Nielsen and Jessie M. King.
The works of his contemporaries exhibited alongside Beardsley’s illustrations and sketches, provide an illuminating backdrop to the unique collection on display at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, within the fine art deco setting of the landmark Parkinson Building of the
University of Leeds. The artworks and books displayed come from the University of Leeds collections as well as from private collections.
The tragically short-lived Beardsley was born in Brighton in 1872; he died of tuberculosis at the age of 25 in 1898. He was a musical prodigy among other artistic talents, and at the age of nineteen he was warmly encouraged by the Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones. His career as a book illustrator was first supported by publisher J.M. Dent. Dent commissioned the young artist to illustrate an edition of Malory’s Morte D’Arthur in neo-Kelmscott medieval style; a massive and
sometimes tedious task. While Beardsley found the work increasingly boring, his technique matured in the process, and the results brought him fame.