Embroidery: Aubrey Beardsley’s Drawing for The Rape of the Lock (1896). Joy Dec. 14, 2005. Decorator or illustrator?.
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Dec. 14, 2005
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.
“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).
“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)
“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)
“ And now, unveil'd, the Toilet stands display'd, Each Silver Vase in mystic Order laid. First, rob'd in White, the Nymph intent adores With Head uncover'd, the Cosmetic Pow'rs. A heav'nly Image in the Glass appears” (The Rape I ll. 121 - 25)
For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implor'd Propitious 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)
“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).
What do you feel toward the influence of printing technology on Beardsley’s works, limitation, new stimulus/inspiration, or mere reflection of the trend?