Beardsley was the leading illustrator of the Art Nouveau period and this collection was acquired for the nation on the centenary of the artist's birth.

The illustration depicted is 'How King Arthur Saw the Questing Beast and thereof had Great Marvel', 1893, which is a drawing for the frontispiece to Morte d'Arthur. Beardsley's detailed rendering of the scene emphasizes its fantastic nature, while his hairline drawing style ensnares the King, as though in a spider's web, mirroring his transfixed state. 15 other drawings out of the 44 are of special importance, including the design for cover of 'The Rape of the Lock', illustrations to 'The Lysistrata', and two drawings: 'The Lady with the Monkey' (1897) and 'The Kiss of Judas' (1893).


Ralph Harari.

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