Although he died in 1898, and has come to symbolise the 1890s in general, the artist Aubrey Beardsley (subject of a current exhibition at Tate Britain) deserves to be seen as an honorary Edwardian. His influence, after all, extended far beyond his lifetime, and many audiences will have encountered him for the first time in books and exhibitions produced in the 1900s. The question of whether the ‘decadence’ of the 1890s extended into the 1900s, and how it manifested itself, remains a very interesting one.
In the meantime, this month has also seen the launch of the Aubrey Beardsley Society and their excellent Aubrey Beardsley website. The Society’s aims, in its own words, are ‘to bring together emerging Beardsley scholars and long-time admirers, artists and collectors, students and academics who are shaping the field of Beardsley studies – in 2020 and beyond. Cultivating new talent in this field is the Society’s privilege and responsibility’. You can join the Society here.
Finally (as if this wasn’t enough): ‘to mark the foundation of the Society, the Emerging Beardsley Scholar Prize will be awarded for the best short essay on any aspect of Beardsley’s work, life, and reception. The Society aims to encourage new work that is intellectually adventurous and stylistically accomplished and seeks submissions that highlight Beardsley’s relevance today. Postgraduate and early career researchers who have not yet held permanent academic posts are invited to participate. The author of the winning essay will be awarded £500 while two runners-up will receive £100 each. For further details, please consult Call for Submissions.’