Victorian Bullshit and Co.

Miscellaneous bits of Literature, Victorians, History, and Art.

The Complete set of Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s play, Salome.

In 1893, Aubrey Beardsley was inspired to create and publish a single illustration based on Wilde’s play (the original is visually similar to what would later become The Climax, seen in this set as the final image before the tailpiece. Wilde loved the drawing, sent Beardsley a copy of the play containing the inscription "For Aubrey: for the only artist who, beside myself, knows what the dance of the seven veils is, and can see that invisible dance", and soon commissioned him to illustrate the entire play. But unfortunately

the public was outraged when the English edition of the work was published with its illustrations and Wilde himself was taken aback when he laid eyes upon Beardsley’s completed drawings. Not only did he find their style inappropriate, but the illustrations had caused such public controversy with their fascinating, grotesque appeal that Wilde was concerned they would overshadow his work and “reduce the text to the role of ‘illustrating Aubrey’s illustrations’” (source). 

  • 9 June 2013
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