Aubrey Beardsley

Susan Owens

13th May 2020

Aubrey Beardsley self portrait (BM)


Aubrey Beardsley shot to fame with his daring illustrations to Oscar Wilde’s play Salomé. His supremely assured drawings, inspired by sources as diverse as Japanese prints, ancient Greek vase paintings and French Rococo art, subsequently came to define the 1890s. He lived life in a hurry, aware that he had not long to live: he died of tuberculosis at just twenty-five. This lecture tells the story of Beardsley’s short life and brilliant work.

Lecturer’s CV

Dr Susan Owens is a historian and writer. Formerly Curator of Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum, she has written or co-authored books on decadent interiors, natural history illustration, watercolours, drawings and self-portraits. Now freelance, Susan lives in Suffolk. Her most recent books are The Ghost: A Cultural History (2017) and Christina Rossetti: Poetry in Art (2018), and she has contributed to Aubrey Beardsley (2020), published to accompany the forthcoming exhibition at Tate Britain.