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.
The website also has a great library, and a wonderful blog
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.’
To mark two-hundred and fifty years of the Royal Academy, the Paul Mellon Centre and the RA have just launched a major online project, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle 1769-2018. The website not only contains links to all the summer exhibition catalogues, but includes short essays exploring every single year of the show. This is obviously exciting news for anyone interested in art in Britain, and also for scholars of Edwardian culture. Explore the Edwardian Royal Academy here.
Spencer Gore, Ballet Scene from ‘On the Sands’, 1910, Yale Center for British Art
The Yale Center for British Art – the largest collection of British art outside the UK – reopened this week after a sixteen-month building conservation project. The re-installation of the collection tells the story of British art from the sixteenth century to the present day, while a special exhibition focuses on the collection of the late Rhoda Pritzker, who purchased a wide range of twentieth-century paintings and sculpture. Several works from the long Edwardian era can currently be seen in the galleries, including the ten images listed below:
- Spencer Gore, Ballet Scene from ‘On the Sands’, 1910
- Walter Sickert, Carolina dell’Acqua, 1903-4
- Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell at her Easel, 1914
- Augustus John, Dorelia in the Garden at Alderney Manor, Dorset, c.1911
- Roger Fry, The Artist’s Garden at Durbins, Guildford, c.1915
- Alfred Munnings, Gypsy Life — The Hop Pickers, 1913
- Frank Brangwyn, Departure of the Bucintoro, 1910
- Charles Ginner, Design for Tiger Hunting Mural in the Cabaret Theatre Club, 1912
- Gwen John, Study of a Nun, Seated at a Table, c.1915
- Spencer Gore, Cambrian Road, Richmond, 1914
Harold Gilman, “Stanislawa de Karlowska”, c. 1913 (Yale Center for British Art)
Edwardian scholars may be interested in the Early Career Researchers in British Art Network, the aim of which is to support ECRs working in the field of British art history. The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art will host regular afternoon gatherings where members can gather to present short papers, offer one another feedback, discuss their experiences and share information about career-related topics. They also hope to invite speakers to give career development advice, and to workshops on popular topics if there is demand. Their website includes a list of researchers, events, and featured ‘research journeys’. They will be hosting three events in the coming semester, details of which can be found here.