Victorian Art & Design
Beardsley and Smithers

Leonard Smithers was a rather odd bookseller who decided to become a publisher. He invited Beardsley to become the Art Editor of a new periodical called The Savoy. The first volume was published in January 1896.  The eighth and last volume came out in December 1896. By then Smithers had run out of money and Beardsley had become too ill to keep up a regular supply of drawings. 
In spite of his ill health Beardsley illustrated a number of books for Smithers to publish. The first was Pope's poem The Rape of the Lock. When Whistler saw these drawings he told Beardsley that he was a genius. 

In April 1897, on Doctor's orders, Beardsley left England for France. He died at Menton in the south of France in March 1898 of tuberculosis (TB). His last drawings were for Ben Jonson's 17th century play, Volpone. He only completed a cover, a frontispiece and five pencilled initials. One of them is shown on the right.

Beardsley worked almost entirely in black and white. His early drawings were influenced by  Burne-Jones, the later ones by Japanese prints and Greek vases and then by French engravings.
Beardsley Quiz