The Dream

Object Details

Title:

The Dream

Artist/Maker(s):

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (British, 1872 - 1898)

Culture:

British

Date:

1896

Medium:

Pen and black ink over pencil

Dimensions:

25.7 x 17.8 cm (10 1/8 x 7 in.)

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Twas he has summon'd to her silent Bed
The Morning Dream that hover'd o'er her Head.
A Youth more glitt'ring than a Birth-Night Beau. . . .

Carrying a long baton tipped with a glittering star, an elegant suitor of the 1700s peers through an opening in the bed-curtains to spy on Belinda, the protagonist in Alexander Pope's poem, The Rape of the Lock. According to the passage from the poem, the suitor probably represents the "Morning Dream" sent to Belinda by her guardian to populate her fantasies.

In his typically sensuous and inventive way, Aubrey Beardsley did not illustrate the passage literally; rather, he chose suggestive, fantastic imagery replete with allusions. Long, lacy bed-curtains embroidered with women's busts and feminine motifs, such as the peacock, symbolize Belinda. Beardsley's unique manner of drawing includes elaborate layering of patterns, such as the delicate dotting that resembles textile embroidery.

Provenance

Mrs. John Hay Whitney, American, 1908 - 1998 (New York City, New York) [sold, Sotheby's, New York, April 23, 1999, lot 419, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Exhibitions
Aubrey Beardsley: A Centenary Tribute (Feburary 21 to July 26, 1998) (148)
  • Kawasaki City Museum (Kanagawa), February 21 to April 5, 1998
  • Museum of Modern Art (Wakayama), April 11 to May 10, 1998
  • Museum of Modern Art (Gunma), June 27 to July 26, 1998
Recent Additions to the Drawings Collection (August 3 to October 1, 1999) (148)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 3 to October 1, 1999
To Create a Living Art: 19th Century Drawings (May 1 to July 15, 2001) (148)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 1 to July 15, 2001
Defining Modernity: European Drawings 1800-1900 (June 5 to September 9, 2007) (148)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 5 to September 9, 2007
Luminous Paper: British Watercolors and Drawings (July 19 to October 23, 2011) (148)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 19 to October 23, 2011