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Drawing - Lysistrata Haranguing the Athenian Women
  • Lysistrata Haranguing the Athenian Women
    Beardsley, Aubrey Vincent, born 1872 - died 1898
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Lysistrata Haranguing the Athenian Women

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1896 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Beardsley, Aubrey Vincent, born 1872 - died 1898 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with Art Fund support

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On short term loan out for exhibition

Aubrey Beardsley's distinctive black and white drawings for Oscar Wilde's Salomé, published in 1894, brought him an extraordinary notoriety whilst still in his early twenties. His work for the periodical The Yellow Book confirmed his position as the most innovative illustrator of the day, but as a result of the hostile moralistic outcry that followed the arrest and trial of Oscar Wilde in early 1895, John Lane and other publishers panicked and dropped Beardsley. Thereafter, almost the only publisher who would use his drawings was Leonard Smithers. Smithers was a brilliant but shady character who operated on the fringes of the rare book trade, issuing small, clandestine editions of risqué books. Smithers encouraged Beardsley's already growing interest in French, Latin and Greek texts of this kind and commissioned drawings to illustrate the Satires of the late Roman poet Juvenal and, most famously, Aristophanes's bawdy satirical play Lysistrata.

The illustration depicts the key moment in the play at which Lysistrata exhorts the Athenian women to abstain from all sexual congress with their husbands until peace is declared between the Athenian men and the Lacedaemonians. The prospect of a sustained period of abstinence leads one of the women to make an overt sexual advance on another.

This print comes from the folio of reproductions made from Beardsley's original drawings and published in about 1929. Utilising the expensive collotype process, these prints are much closer to the originals than the earlier line-block prints of the 1896 edition of the book or the various, mostly very poor reproductions included in subsequent pirated printings.

Physical description

A drawing in black ink on white paper depicting Lysistrata from behind, dressed in floor-length flounced gown, bloomers and slippers, addressing three naked Athenian women facing the viewer.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1896 (made)


Beardsley, Aubrey Vincent, born 1872 - died 1898 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Signed in ink bottom left corner


Height: 27.4 cm, Width: 19.4 cm

Object history note

One of eight illustrations by Beardsley for 'The Lysistrata of Aristophanes' that was published in London by Leonard Smithers in 1896.

Descriptive line

Drawing by Aubrey Beardsley, 'Lysistrata Haranguing the Athenian Women', illustration to 'Lysistrata' by Aristophanes, published by Leonard Smithers, London 1896 (facing page 12), pen and ink on paper, Epsom, England, 1896

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Calloway, Stephen. Aubrey Beardsley. London: V & A Publications, 1998. 224pp, illus. ISBN: 1851772197.

Production Note

BEARDSLEY, Aubrey Vincent (1872-1898)


Paper; Pen and Indian ink



Subjects depicted

Sexuality; Nudes; Bisexual


Drawings; Books; Illustration; Gender and Sexuality; LGBTQ


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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