Title Page to the Yellow Book - Volume 1
To the Editor of the Pall Mall Budget.
27 April 1894.
The Bodley Head, Vigo Street, W.
So much exception has been taken, both by the Press
and by private persons, to my title-page of The Yellow Book, that
I must plead for space in your valuable paper to enlighten those
who profess to find my picture unintelligible. It represents a lady
playing the piano in the middle of a field.
Unpardonable affectation! cry the critics. But let us listen to
Bomvet. Christopher Willibald Ritter von Gluck, in order to
warm his imagination and to transport himself to Aulis or Sparta,
was accustomed to place himself in the middle of a field. In this
situation, with his piano before him, and a bottle of champagne
on each side, he wrote in the open air his two Iphigenias, his Orpheus,
and some other works. I tremble to think what critics would
say had I introduced those bottles of champagne. And yet we do not
call Gluck a decadent.
¶ 1894. Occasioned by adverse comment about
the title-page of the first number of the Yellow Book, this letter
was almost certainly written to stir up controversy for publicity
purposes. The historical reference and the quotation are undoubtedly
Beardsleys own inventions.