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Print - 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:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1929 (printed and published)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Collotype print on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr Vyvyan Holland

  • Museum number:

    E.749-1945

  • Gallery location:

    Temporary Exhibition, room 38, case 3. Pen and Ink

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

Black and white print 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)

Date

ca. 1929 (printed and published)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

Collotype print on paper

Marks and inscriptions

signed: AUBREY BEARDSLEY

Dimensions

Height: 245 mm image image inside border, Width: 168 mm image image inside border, Height: 256 mm image image to edge of border, Width: 179 mm image image to edge of border, Height: 343 mm sheet, Width: 250 mm sheet

Object history note

One of eight plates by Beardsley for The Lysistrata of Aristophanes London: Leonard Smithers, 1896.

Descriptive line

Collotype print after Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98). 'Lysistrata Haranguing the Athenian Women', from The Lysistrata of Aristophanes, 1896.

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

Aristophanes. The Lysistrata of Aristophanes: now first wholly translated into English and illustrated with eight full page drawings by Aubrey Beardsley. London: L Smithers, 1896. 61p 8 plates.

Brian Reade, Aubrey Beardsley, 1969, Cat. 462.

Mark Samuels Lasner, A Selective Checklist of the Published Work of Aubery Beardsley, 1995, pp 67-8, cat 107 D.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1945, London: HMSO, 1956.

Production Note

The collotype reproductions made from the original drawings in about 1929 can be recognised by the distinctive watermark in the paper comprising the initials AB in a circle.

Materials

Paper

Techniques

Collotype

Subjects depicted

Slippers; Nudes; Breasts; Shoes

Categories

Illustration; Prints; Gender and Sexuality

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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