Biography of Aubrey Beardsley

Photo of Aubrey Beardsley

Aubrey Beardsley was a nineteenth century graphic artist.

When and Where was he Born?

21st August 1872, Brighton, Sussex, England

Family Background:

Aubrey Beardsley’s father Vincent came from a long line of jewelers in Clerkenwell. He was sued for breach of promise by another woman on his wedding day he lost all his property but continued to cling to the rank of gentleman. He had to find employment as a brewery clerk. His mother Ellen came from the well-to-do family of an ex-indian Army Officer Surgeon and felt that she had married beneath her. There was often friction between his parents who lived at Hamilton Lodge, Hurstpierpoint, Brighton.


Brighton Grammar School. Westminster School of Art for a few months after a recommendation by Sir Edward Burne Jones.

Timeline of Aubrey Beardsley:

1893: Beardsley is commissioned to illustrate Sir Thomas Malory’s “Morte D’Arthur” by John Lane of the Bodley Head publishers. He lives in London at 32 Cambridge Street, Pimlico.

1894:┬áHe is appointed Art Editor and illustrator of “The Yellow Book”. His illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s “Salome” achieved national notoriety. He moves with his sister Mabel into 114 Cambridge Street.

Illustration for Wilde's Salome.
Illustration for Wilde’s Salome.

1895: Even though he was not a homosexual himself he is dismissed from the Yellow Book after Wilde’s downfall.

1896: Beardsley illustrates Aristophane’s “Lysistrata”. He becomes the principal illustrator of “The Savoy” magazine. He illustrates Alexander Pope’s “Rape of the Lock” for Leonard Smithers but by now has become an invalid.

1896: Beardsley becomes a Catholic and goes to live in France.

When and Where did he Die?

16th March 1898 of tuberculosis at the Hotel Cosmopolitan in Menton, France.

Age at Death:



Never married.

Site of Grave:

Public Cemetery, Menton, France.

Self portrait of Beardsley.
Self portrait of Beardsley

Places of Interest:


Plaque on the former site of the “Muriel House” in Exeter Road.


Tate Britain.


Beardsley completed the Lysistrata at the Spread Eagle Hotel, Epsom.