Ink on paper,
However unlikely the subject, Beardsley always found ways to introduce epicene pseudo-classical nudes and objects practically exploding with erotic potential—in this case, decorative naked bodies ending in goatish loins and hooves, along with clusters of grapes meeting the lips of a woman in a sensual kiss and flowers standing at erect attention. Linda Zatlin’s Beardsley catalogue raisonné identifies Autumn as intended for a calendar to be issued by William Heinemann (1863–1920). His firm was sometimes in competition with the Bodley Head for signing up new authors, especially those whose work embraced international influences. Evidently, the project was discarded when the publisher, who was aiming for a wide market, saw this overtly risqué image. Given Beardsley’s long record by 1896 of pushing the sexual envelope, viewers today can only wonder why Heinemann was surprised.
From the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press