Embroidery aubrey beardsley s drawing for the rape of the lock 1896
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Embroidery: Aubrey Beardsley’s Drawing for The Rape of the Lock (1896) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Embroidery: Aubrey Beardsley’s Drawing for The Rape of the Lock (1896). Joy Dec. 14, 2005. Decorator or illustrator?.

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Embroidery: Aubrey Beardsley’s Drawing for The Rape of the Lock (1896)

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Embroidery: Aubrey Beardsley’s Drawing for The Rape of the Lock (1896)


Dec. 14, 2005

Decorator or illustrator?

Beardsley’s drawing for The Rape of the Lock is considered one of his most remarkable works and one which has most fidelity to the text compared to other ‘illustrations’ done by Beardsley. Nevertheless, Beardsley still lay a strong emphasis upon the materiality in his illustration, resulting in the striking decorativeness.

Text as a concrete entity (Frankel)

  • Great design of cover, binding, and closing-design

  • Presupposition of the effect of printing: frame

  • Stippled dots

  • List of the pictures

Cover Design (1896)

“The binding that Beardsley designed is such a masterpiece of Art Nouveau….Its symmetrical design, stamped in gold on turquoise blue cloth, is a sumptuous and provocative introduction to the poem within….”(Robert Halsband, qtd. in Frankel 264).

Cover Design (1897)

The New Star

“When those fair Suns shall set, as set they must,

And all those Tresses shall be laid in dust;

This Lock, the Muse shall consecrate to fame,

And 'midst the stars inscribe Belinda's Name!” (The Rape Ⅴ ll. 147-50)

The Billet-doux

“He said: when Shock, who thought she slept too long, Leap'd up, and wak'd his Mistress with his Tongue. 'Twas then, Belinda! if Report say true, Thy Eyes first open'd on a Billet-doux” (The Rape I ll. 115-18)

Theme and Imagery (Victorian Web)

  • Artificiality

  • Furniture

  • Mask and cosmetics

The Toilette

“ And now, unveil'd, the Toilet stands display'd, Each Silver Vase in mystic Order laid.First, rob'd in White, the Nymph intent adoresWith Head uncover'd, the Cosmetic Pow'rs.A heav'nly Image in the Glass appears” (The Rape I ll. 121 - 25)

The Baron’s Prayer

For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implor'dPropitious Heav'n, and ev'ry Power ador'd,But chiefly Love-to Love an Altar built,Of twelve vast French Romances, neatly gilt.     

There lay three Garters, half a Pair of Gloves,And all the Trophies of his former Loves. (The Rape II ll. 37- 42)

The Cave of Spleen

“In Beardsley’s drawing the ‘cave of spleen’ looks like a mixture of hell, a fin-de- siecle den, and a alchemist’s or anatomist’s laboratory with homunculi or embryos kept in transparent vessels. The illustration translates the whole fantastic and embryonic band of Pope’s imagination into a visual grotesque” (Kuryluk, 107).

Works Cited

  • Frankel Nicholas. “Aubrey Beardsley ‘Embroiders’ the Literary Text.” The Victorian Illustrated Book. Ed. Richard Maxwell. Charlottesville : UP of Virginia, 2002. 259-96.

  • Kuryluk, Ewa. Salome and Judas in the Cave of Sex. Evanston: Northwestern UP, 1987.

  • Landow, George P. The Victorian Web. 1987. Brown U. 12 Dec 2005 <http://www.victorianweb.org/>


What do you feel toward the influence of printing technology on Beardsley’s works, limitation, new stimulus/inspiration, or mere reflection of the trend?

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