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Siegfried, Act II

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England, Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1892-93 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen, ink and wash on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case Toast Rack

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This drawing is an illustration relating to Act II of Richard Wagner's opera Siegfried. It was published in the first issue of the art magazine The Studio in April 1893. It is very finely detailed, and is characteristic of Beardsley's style at this period, with its so-called hairline calligraphic flourishes used for decorative effect. It demonstrates some of the many influences on Beardsley's distinctive drawings. These include reminiscences of prints by Andrea Mantegna and details from paintings by other Renaissance artists that Beardsley had seen in the National Gallery in London. It also carries echoes of the elongated figures and dense linear style characteristic of the work of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, who was an associate of the Pre-Raphaelite painters. Burne-Jones was an important mentor and inspiration for Beardsley, who presented him with this drawing. Beardsley was flattered when he hung it in his drawing room alongside prints and drawings by Albrecht Dürer and others.

Place of Origin

England, Great Britain (made)


ca.1892-93 (made)


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

Materials and Techniques

Pen, ink and wash on paper

Marks and inscriptions



Height: 41.4 cm, Width: 30.1 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Sir Edward Burne-Jones; Mrs Ellen Agnus Beardsley; purchased from Guy Little, Mrs Beardsley's executor, in 1932.

Exhibitions: V&A 1966, no. 163; New York, 1967, no. 41; Royal Academy of Arts 'Vienna Secession', January 1971.

Historical context note

Reproduced in the first number of 'The Studio', April 1893 p.11 in 'A New Illustrator: Aubrey Beardsley', by Joseph Pennell.

Descriptive line

Drawing by Aubrey Beardsley, 'Siegfried, Act II', illustrating Wagner's lyric drama, pen, ink and wash, ca.1892-93

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

Greenhalgh, Paul Ed., Art Nouveau : 1890 - 1914. London: V&A Publications, 2000. 464 p., ill. ISBN 1851772774
Geneviève Lacambre, Luisa Capodieci and Dominique Lobstein Il Simbolismo. Da Moreau a Gauguin a Klimt Ferrara, Ferarra Arte, 2007.
Exhibition catalogue.
Richard Wagner: Visions d'Artistes, d'Auguste Renoir a Anselm Kiefer Paris, Somogy éditions d'art; Genève: Musées d'art et d'histoire, 2005. ISBN: 2-8306-0227-7
Exhibition catalogue

Exhibition History

Art Nouveau - 1890-1914 (Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo 21/04/2001-08/07/2001)
Art Nouveau - 1890-1914 (National Gallery of Art, Washington 08/10/2000-28/01/2001)
The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900 (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco 18/02/2012-17/07/2012)
The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900 (Musée d'Orsay 13/09/2011-15/01/2012)
The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900 (Victoria and Albert Museum 02/04/2011-17/07/2011)
Richard Wagner: Visions d'Artistes (Musee de la Musique 25/10/2007-20/01/2008)
Il Simbolismo. Da Moreau a Gauguin a Klimt (Roma Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna 07/07/2007-16/09/2007)
Il Simbolismo. Da Moreau a Gauguin a Klimt (Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferarra 18/02/2007-20/05/2007)
Art Nouveau - 1890-1914 (Victoria and Albert Museum 06/04/2000-30/07/2000)


Indian ink

Subjects depicted

Tree; Flower; Sword; Dragon; Siegfried; Fafner


Entertainment & Leisure; Illustration; Drawings

Collection code


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