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From New York Times: “Another Yellow Nuisance”

One William Hogarth over a hundred
years ago gave us the full face, the side
one too, patches and all, of the fallen wo-
man of his time, and as far as outline goes
Mr. Aubrey Beardsley is only a poor copy-
ist. If there be talent in an artist because
he possesses the power of irritating one’s
eyes, so merit may be accorded to certain
files for the reason they can produce blis-
ters. The outside of The Yellow Book
has one of Mr. Aubrey Beardsley’s absurd-
ities. A woman with a negress’s profile, hold-
ing a powder-puff in her hand, is gazing at
a mirror lighted up by two street gas
lamps. Mr. Aubrey Beardsley has the culte
of the horrible, and his work is the desecra-
tion of good taste. One picture of his, en-
titled “The Wagnerites,” is nastily con-
ceived and brutally executed. There is no
reason why we should not appreciate the
“charge d’atelier,” but the best-natured
person dislikes having this kind of thing
pounded into him.

Looking through the illustrated portion
of The Yellow Book there are, maybe, two or
three prints which, if not stupid, are not dis-
tinctly ludicrous. “Andreas Mantegna,” the
Paduan, has nothing attractive about it.
“From a Lithograph” is a sketch of a
woman whose hair makes her look like a
corded poodle. She has thick lips, a terri-
ble neck, a third finger thicker than a
thumb, and no little finger to speak of. The
bend of the arm alone shows an entire want
of drawing. “From a Pastel” must be a
woman in the pork-butchering business, who
has a greasy look and a very bad complex-
ion. Do artists of music halls alone occupy
the attention of those who earn a few
shillings by the acceptance of their sketches
by The Yellow Book? If such illustrations as
“Collins’s Music Hall” and “The Lion’s Co-
mique” were offered in New-York, we do not
say to a respectable publisher, but to one
who knew anything, they would both be
declined, because they would be called stu-

Why should Mr. Max Beerbohm, who can
write well enough, make a picture of
George IV.? He could never describe the
fat man as did Thackeray, nor caricature
him as did Gilray. Englishmen must seek
far for their fun if they find anything the
least amusing in this picture of Beau Brum-
mel’s fat friend, “The Study of a Head,”
by an unknown artist, is not ludicrous, nor
does it shock the taste, only it is a distress-
ing likeness of a narrow-chested, hectic
woman who is consumptive, with an in-
clination to show her cheek bones. There
is really but one fair study in the whole
collection of prints, and it is “A Sunset.”
The text is contributed by some twenty-
five persons, a few holding good places in
current English literature, and it is far bet-
ter than the pictures. Illustratively, Vol-
ume III. of The Yellow Book is very much
worse than the last one. If originality be
sought—and if the English want it badly—
which is doubtful, why do not the publish-
ers open a credit in France? At least in Paris
“the shocking” has the merit of
good drawing.

MLA citation:

“Another Yellow Nuisance.” Review of The Yellow Book, vol. 3, October 1894, New York Times 18 November 1894, p. 23. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanties, 2019.