This piece was created for the 1896 edition of Alexander Pope’s narrative poem The Rape of the Lock
. The illustration depicts the moment when the heroine Belinda attacks the Baron (with her fan after discovering he has cut and stolen a lock of her hair during their game of cards.
The Battle of the Beaux and the Belles
17.6 x 25.7 cm
Pen and ink on paper
Date of work
Original: Pen and ink on paper, 17.6 x 25.7 cm The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, The University of Birmingham / Bridgeman Images
Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98) was a draughtsman and illustrator, perhaps best remembered for his powerful illustrations of Oscar Wilde’s controversial play Salomé. Although he died tragically young at the age of just 25, he was prolific in his work, producing hundreds of illustrations for books, periodicals and posters in a career spanning just under seven years. He explored the erotic and the elegant, the humorous and grotesque, winning admirers around the world with his distinctive style.