. An original drawing by Aubrey Beardsley. Beardsley (1872-1898) is the best known illustrator from the British 1890s. He lived a tragically short time, dying of tuberculosis at the age of 25. This lovely major work, the epitome of Beardsley’s style of art nouveau, is for the spine of the binding cases of Sir Thomas Malory, Le morte Darthur, published by J. M. Dent, 1893-94, Beardsley’s first important commission. The book's title (spelled incorrectly as “La Morte Darthur”), author, publisher, and date are included in the design, which is in fact drawn on four separate pieces of paper that have been adhered together. Malory's Le Morte Darthur, published by Dent has been described as incomparable. The same can be said of Aubrey Beardsley's beautiful and remarkable designs (a term he preferred to "illustrations"). Beardsley was only 20 years old when Dent commissioned him to do all of the designs for this work. It was a leap of faith by Dent in taking a chance on an unproven artist. The illustrations were done during 1892-1894 for the initial issue in parts, beginning in June 1893. The design is done in ink on paper with pencil under-drawing showing the change from the initial position of the leaves, on four separate pieces of paper, the title and top border inset above the ornamental panel ; 27 x 6.7 cm. Framed. In fine condition. Provenance: J. M. Dent. Exhibited: “Burne-Jones, The Pre-Raphaelites, and their Century,” Peter Nahum, London, 1989, 165 (listed in catalogue vol. I, p. 166-167, reproduced. vol. 2, pl. 124); “Beautiful Decadence,” Japan, 1998, 7 (reproduced in catalogue). Literature: Ian Fletcher, Aubrey Beardsley, 1987, p. 128-129; A. E. Gallatin, Aubrey Beardsley: Catalogue and Bibliography, 1945, p. 33; Mark Samuels Lasner, A Selective Checklist of the Published Work of Aubrey Beardsley, 1995. ORIG/011116.
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. Original caricature done in ink on paper. The caricature celebrates the opening night of The Happy Life, a play by Louis N. Parker and Murray Carson, staged at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, in 1897. It depicts Parker (standing atop the Duke of York’s column), Carson, and Max (top hat and wasp-waisted coat) himself drinking champagne. Both Parker and Carson were important dramatists at the turn of the century; Beerbohm would later collaborate with Carson on a one-act “curtain-raiser” in 1914, The fly on the wheel. Inscribed “Best wishes in a great success. December 6 ’97” and signed “Max.” Unrecorded; not in Hart-Davis’s catalogue of Beerbohm’s caricatures. In near fine condition and nicely framed. 20 x 25.4 cm. ORIG/011216.
ca. 1913. English artist, Sir William Rothenstein (1872 - 1945), was highly regarded for his portraits of authors, royalty, and other famous persons. He was also an official war artist during both world wars and served as the Principal of the Royal College of Art between the wars. This is a lovely pencil drawing on paper of the artist's wife, Alice, that was done as a study for the double portrait of her and Eric Gill now at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The drawing is from the collection of the Rothensteins' daughter, Betty Holiday. The study measures 26.4 x 18.5 cm. In very good condition with slight aging to margins and a pencil smudge along the hem of Alice's dress, neither affecting the image. A few pencil marks on the verso, possibly by artist practicing pencil strokes. In an archival mat and protected by sheet of tissue paper. ORIG/071216. Very Good.