Aubrey Beardsley

Enoch Soames:
The Critical Heritage


The Calumny of Beerbohm
The Anxiety of Influence
New Light on Soames
Enoch’s Castle
In Praise of Christian Diabolism
Iconographia Fungosiana
Strange Growths
A Letter to the Editor
List of Illustrations
Le Diaboliste Catholique
Portrait Study of Enoch Soames
En Attendant
Crème de Menthe and Nicotine
A Man of Letters
Enoch Soames, Esq.
The Bad Homburg

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The Arms of a PoetEnoch Soames - The Critical Heritage
Le Diaboliste Catholique, by Aubrey Beardsley

 Le Diaboliste Catholique ca. 1892.

Aubrey Beardsley 1872 - 1898.
Pen and ink, 15 x 10.7 cm.
Signed with the artist's emblem.

Though not actually a consumptive, Enoch Soames's hypochondriac paranoia led him to believe that his days as a writer were very limited, and that like others of the "Tragic Generation" he was, in Symons's words, a "poet in a hurry." It has been said that that it was at the consulting rooms of the eminent surgeon, Symes Thompson, that Soames, Henry Harland and Beardsley all met in the middle months of 1892. Certainly Soames later wrote to Beardsley, on an undated seaside post card from Dieppe:

    “Dear Chap, You will remember your promise won't you??? That beast Rothenstein is so pleased with himself that he won't draw me at all, much less speak. Rops will only do me naked and with one of those lascivious monkeys—so it has to be something in your ‘Jap manner’ or not at all. So, do try to ‘make something of me.’ I implore you. Stenbock joins in best regards, yrs. E. S."

The drawing, which Beardsley made during the late summer of 1892, was excluded from the “Iconography” of the artist's work by the devout Aymer Vallance, who strongly disapproved of Soames's open avowal of diabolist leanings; the original, long considered lost, was known only from a photograph discovered by R. A. Walker shut between the pages of a copy of Tit-Bits left in the debris abandoned by the Beardsley family when they left their house at 114 Cambridge Street in 1895, following Aubrey's dismissal from his art-editorship of the Yellow Book.
    Acquired presumably at some time after 1932, the drawing remained in the von Frieblisch collection until his death; it is now in a private collection.

Enoch Soames