The Carnival is Over? Beardsley’s Pierrots, The Savoy, and the Moral Battle for Modern Art

This essay is the winner of the 2020 Emerging Beardsley Scholar Prize. Samuel Love’s piece fascinatingly addresses the important subject of the image of Pierrot in Beardsley’s work. It particularly illuminates Beardsley’s use of it in the Savoy in a way that contributes both to our understanding of the specific works discussed and the history of the periodical. The essay offers what appear to be highly original and most welcome readings of the iconography of such designs as the Savoy frontispiece, The Death of Pierrot, and Don Juan. 

‘Something corrupt’: The Queer Sensibility of Aubrey Beardsley and Konstantin Somov

Natalia Maslianinova’s essay is a runner-up of the 2020 Emerging Beardsley Scholar Prize competition. Rooting her analysis in queer historicism and transnational perspectives, Maslianinova foregrounds ‘queer codes’ in the Rococo designs of Aubrey Beardsley and his Russian admirer, artist Konstantin Somov. Maslianinova also points out how clandestine queer communities in the twentieth-century USSR and Poland were guided in their reception of Somov and Beardsley by the subtle queer subtext of the Rococo imagery.

‘Donald! Susan! Ronald! Brigid!’: The Camp Afterlives of Aubrey Beardsley

This essay by Dickon Edwards is a runner-up of the 2020 Emerging Beardsley Scholar Prize competition.  It brings to life the most enchanting string of characters, from Mabel Beardsley to Ronald Firbank and Brigid Brophy, in a triumph of ‘artifice and exaggeration’. Governed by the same stylistic principle, the author’s short biography deserves a special mention among the enthusiasts of camp.