Whistler was an enormous influence on Beardsley even before the two met. Whistler's Peacock Room at 49, Prince's Gate, and its Japanese style was to lure Beardsley away from the medievalism of Burne-Jones. The motifs of the peacock and the wasp derive directly from Whistler's work.

As much as Beardsley desired to cultivate a friendship, Whistler refused. When they finally met in Paris in 1893, Whistler referred to Beardsley as "that young thing. He has hairs on his hands, hairs on his finger ends, hairs in his ears, hairs on his toes, hairs all over him!" Two nights later, he refused a dinner invitation. Affronted, Beardsley drew a wicked caricature of Whistler, showing him in an oversized boater with mounds of bushy hair and an enormous Wildean carnation, pointing to a butterfly, Whistler's signature. Despite the animosity between the two, Whistler remained one of the strongest influences on Beardsley's work.


Victorian Web Overview Aubrey Beardsley Aesthetes & Decadents Illustration

Last modified 1 November 2004