I think that most people will be familiar with the work of Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98). He managed to cram an incredible lot of work into his tragically short life. Although he didn’t like to be associated with the Decadents, especially after the furore of Oscar Wilde’s trial. Nonetheless… he so obviously was a Decadent. He famously illustrated Wildes play, Salome, as well as a collection of Arthurian legends, and his distinctive style was much imitated, although no one came close to the dark, erotically charged illustrations that Beardsley produced. I’ve put a few of his lesser-known works here. Above is an incredibly detailed illustration to Pope’s Rape of the Lock.
In this drawing, entitled Dreams, Beardsley foreshadows the Surrealists by at least a decade.
An illustration to Beardsley’s wonderfully bawdy unfinished short story, Under the Hill, a reworking of the Venus and Tannhauser tale (more on that later).
The Monkey. You’ll find that there are a lot of exposed breasts – and enormous phalluses – in many of Beardsleys less publicised illustrations.