Aubrey Beardsley (British, 1872-1898)
pen and black ink with traces of graphite underdrawing
Sheet - h:25.60 w:17.40 cm (h:10 1/16 w:6 13/16 inches)
In this tour de force of pen and ink work, Beardsley illustrates an early scene in Alexander Pope’s satirical masterpiece The Rape of the Lock in which the heroine, Belinda, primps in her boudoir. Reflecting the poem’s emphasis on contrived rather than natural beauty, the drawing is densely layered with artifice. A view of an idyllic garden with a cupola-topped pavilion is glimpsed not through a window as it would first seem, but on a folding screen. Bejeweled bottles litter the table, emblems of Belinda’s vanity.