A Solemn Mass of Requiem for the Repose of the Soul of Aubrey Beardsley Will Take Place at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, Berkeley Square, on May 12th, at 10.30.
With his mother and sister at his bedside, Beardsley died of tuberculosis on 16 March 1898 in Menton. Following a Catholic funeral, he was buried there. Two months later, a requiem mass was held in London—one way in which friends and admirers dealt with their shock and grief. At age fourteen Beardsley had, as his biographer Matthew Sturgis records, inscribed a book “to A. V. Beardsley from his loving self.” By the time of his too-early death, many other people dearly loved him and his art. That art gave his life purpose; he struggled to create even in his final days. In her 1921 manuscript notes (on view in this exhibition), his mother reported discovering, after his death, the pen he favored “sticking into the floor” where “he must have thrown it away [on] finding he could not draw” any longer. Erect and defiant, it was Beardsley’s last stand.
From the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press