The Eve of St Aubrey: Re†Collecting Beardsley (1872-1898)

16 March 2018

Mary Ward House

Aubrey Beardsley is best known today for being the radical art editor of the decadent almanac The Yellow Book and for his extraordinary illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s Salome. The embodiment of Decadence, he was, as Holbrook Jackson put it, ‘a prisoner for ever in those Eighteen Nineties of which he had been so inevitable an expression’. And yet, contrary to this verdict, Beardsley’s striking black-and-white designs and his vision of literature and the arts inspired international avant-garde movements across the globe: from the European and American modernisms of the 1910s and 20s to the European counterculture movements of the 1960s and his canonization in the late 1990s with centenary shows in Tokyo and London.

Marking 120 years since Beardsley’s death, The Eve of St Aubrey: Re†Collecting Beardsley (1872-1898) brought together established and emerging scholars of the artist to examine his works, his public image, and his new – global – place in the art canon. The interdisciplinary symposium aimed to unlock the geographical and chronological boundaries of the ‘Beardsley Period’ by reassessing the artist’s international reception and the impact of his aesthetics on modern movements in visual art, literature, music, and fashion.

A conversation with Professor Linda Gertner Zatlin, the author of Aubrey Beardsley: A Catalogue Raisonné (Yale UP, 2016) open the symposium. It was followed by the presentations of Beardsley scholars and concluded with a reading of Masks and Phases, a Beardsleyesque dialogue by the artist’s biographer Matthew Sturgis.

Call for Papers in pdf. Please note that the Call for Papers is now closed.

The Symposium was supported by the  Lorraine Lim Postgraduate Prize, Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies and a donation by Simon Wilson.

The relocation to the Mary Ward House in solidarity with the UCU strike was made possible by the liberal voluntary donations of the Beardsley enthusiasts: Matthew Wojciechowski, Ana Parejo Vadillo, Rebecka Klette, Martin Lohrer, Phyllis Connors, Michael Seeney, Anthony Shepherd, Daichi Ishikawa, Samuel Shaw, Flore Janssen.

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