Aubrey Beardsley designed covers for twenty-two of the novels and collections of short stories published by John Lane under the imprint the Keynotes Series between 1894 and 1897. Its name derived from a hotly debated question of the 1890s: whether an unmarried woman living in her parents’ house should own a latchkey. The series thus declared its concern with the controversial topics of the period. In addition to the title pages, Beardsley designed fifteen monograms of the authors’ initials in the form of keys. Writers whose works were published under the Keynotes umbrella include George Egerton, Grant Allen, Arthur Machen, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Victoria Crosse, and others. Apart from Lane’s book of 1896 which collected Beardsley’s twenty-two Keynotes designs to promote the series, these images are rarely seen together.
A facsimile reproduction of the complete set of 20 miniature posters for the Keynotes Series will be sent as an exclusive holiday gift to each member of AB 2020: The Aubrey Beardsley Society, courtesy of Thomas G. Boss Fine Books. The item is also available for sale.
Printed by the Stinehour Press, each of these mini-posters measures 7 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches and is issued in colours (bright yellow, green, brown, red, and blue). They feature twenty of Beardsley’s designs for the covers and title pages from the American editions of the Keynotes Series, which were originally published in Boston by Roberts Brothers (c. 1896). No English version of these mini-posters was ever printed. As early as 1923 the set was described as ‘scarce’ when it was offered at the 12 November 1923 sale of John Quinn’s library (Anderson Galleries).
We are thankful to Thomas G. Boss for this generous donation and delighted to offer this set of rare miniature posters to our members as a token of gratitude for their support of AB 2020: The Aubrey Beardsley Society.
To join the Society, please proceed here.