Showing posts with label Volpone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Volpone. Show all posts

Friday, April 17, 2009

Aubrey Beardsley... Volpone 1898



1898. In addition to designing several full-page illustrations and numerous initial letters, Beardsley also intended to write an extended critical essay, by way of introduction to an edition of Volpone to be published by Leonard Smithers. Volpone proved to be Beardsley’s last work, however, and he had completed only a handful of the designs before his death. The book appeared posthumously, with Robert Ross’s “Eulogy of the Artist”; in the event, the essay was written by Vincent O’Sullivan. Smithers printed Beardsley’s perceptive notes on the play, together with the ravishing illustration of Volpone Adoring his Treasure, as a prospectus for the book.

The Courts of Love

The courts of love are fair to see
Built of shining masonry
Quaintly carved in olden day
By the fairies’ hands they say.
Underneath the arching trees
Gentle lovers take their ease
Chanting songs of Ladye Love,
Whilst the birds which flit above
Make the golden courts to ring
With the joyous song they sing.
“Love is Lord of everything”.

Maidens in the Month of May
Watch the Knights who ride that way
Who for noble deeds and name
Are received with fair acclaim.
At the court they linger long,
Rest is sweet and Love is strong.
Then at quiet eventide
Lovers through the gardens glide
Speaking softly, whilst a ring
Of twilight fairies strangely sing
“Love is Lord of everything”.

* 1891 Presumed to have been composed by Beardsley himself, these twenty-two lines—somewhat in the manner of the Pre-Raphaelite poet William Allingham’s archly pretty fairy songs—come from a page of illuminated verses embellished with two illustrations and other decorative designs. The original was one of a number of early drawings which Beardsley’s school master, A. W. King attempted to sell for him. This sheet, one of the few actually sold, was purchased by Richard Haworth, a local picture-framer and “art-dealer”, and one of King’s acquaintances.