Proof for the Cover of The Savoy: An Illustrated Quarterly, January 1896
After Beardsley’s devastating experience of being fired by John Lane and thrown to the lions of British prudery during the Wilde Trials of 1895, The Savoy was more than a fresh start; it was a means to taunt and mock the Bodley Head firm, while competing with its flagship magazine. Still, there were limits to how openly Beardsley could show his disgust at what The Yellow Book was without him. Although he remained, so to speak, pissed off, no periodical with ambitions to be sold in W. H. Smith’s railway stalls could ever display Beardsley’s initial design for the cover of its first number, with a half-dressed putto aiming a stream of urine onto a copy of The Yellow Book. With that visual element removed, however, the rest of The Savoy’s cover was left intact, including the ambiguous presence of a whip in the woman’s hand, hinting at sadomasochistic possibilities.
From the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press