Aubrey Beardsley

Photo:45-58 Buckingham Road

45-58 Buckingham Road

Photo by Tony Mould

Photo:Beardsley's birthplace: Buckingham Road

Beardsley's birthplace: Buckingham Road

Photo by Tony Mould

Aubrey Beardsley's birthplace in Buckingham Road

By Jennifer Drury

Aubrey Beardsley was born in 1872 at Buckingham Road in Brighton. He was a pupil at Brighton Grammar School and while extremely poor at maths he excelled in art subjects.  Beardsley did not receive any formal art training, in fact he was working as a clerk in London when he was 'discovered' by Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

Most of his highly distinctive work in black and white made him one of the best known Art Noveau artists.  His sometimes darkly erotic drawings, notably those illustrating Oscar Wilde's play Salome, earned Beardsley an element of notoriety. While his popularity waned for a time because of his association with Wilde, he eventually recovered his reputation and even produced some beautiful religious drawings.

Beardsley was diagnosed with tuberculosis at the age of seven, but he determined to live life to the full, and indeed adopted an unconventional and decadent lifestyle.  Sadly, he died from tuberculosis at the very young age of 25, at Menton near Monte Carlo.  There is an extensive collection of Beardsley's work in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

This page was added on 28/08/2006.
Comments about this page

Does anyone know what street number this house is on? Aubrey is my favourite artist!

By Alex G (25/12/2006)

The number might be 31. I should remember, I lived there about five years ago, but that might be very wrong. Funny, I came to the site looking for the number as well.

By Dave Field (09/01/2007)

Aubrey was born at number 12. His parents Vincent and Ellen Beardsley were living with Ellen's family at the time (her parents were William and Susan Pitt).

By Timothy Williams (19/04/2007)

I used to live in the house in the picture, from 2001-2003. Its number definitely number 31, the plaque is by the front door. I went rooting around in the loft one day looking for some old Beardsley works but no luck.

By James D (30/11/2007)

Does anyone know or happen to have a picture of 77 Buckingham Road; or can tell who lived there around 1899.

By Caroline (04/01/2008)

I am also interested if anyone knows anything about the Sommers-Marshall family who lived at 92 Buckingham Road in 1901. Thank you.

By Gaynor (14/01/2008)

On August 21st 1935 I was born at 78 Buckingham Road - it was a Nursing Home then.

By Roger Posse (18/02/2010)

Although Aubrey Beardsley certainly was a prominent former resident of Buckingham Road, I think visitors to this site would have also enjoyed seeing his former school at 76-80 Buckingham Road. This was originally Brighton Grammar School but became the Sussex Maternity Hospital in 1922 and therefore features on the birth certificates of many Brightonians. I can see from comments left by previous visitors to this section, that that was what they had hoped to see. So perhaps My Brighton & Hove should have also included a picture of it here, as well as elsewhere on the site (see here). Alternatively, it can be seen as a maternity hospital amongst the James Gray collection of photos: http://regencysociety-jamesgray.com/volume31/source/jg_31_024.html

By Roy Grant (05/12/2010)

Roy Grant's post sent me on a delightful journey through the James Gray Collection. Thank you. As a milkman, I noticed the Aubrey Beardsley plaque, while delivering in Buckingham Road, where, coincidentally, I delivered milk to a nurse at 76-80, which was then a hospital for mentally handicapped people. In later years, working in the Brighton Museum, I became familiar with the work of Beardsley. The subject of his art may make a few toes curl, but there is no denying the quality.

By Joe (16/09/2011)

I, too, was born at 78 Buckingham Road. (1937).

By J R G Edwards (08/11/2012)

I went to a lecture about Beardsley recently and it was said that, when he was born there, the number of the house in Buckingham Road was 12, but the numbers were changed years ago, and it is now 31.

By JohnGammon (15/09/2014)

Thanks John Gammon for the clarification about the address. I have submitted that info to the Beardsley Wikipedia page, and am looking forward to visiting the site tomorrow.

By Jesse (01/01/2015)

Hi Jesse. I've just had a quick look on StreetView. The house with the plaque is definitely No 31 Buckingham Road but, being a corner property, the front door bearing this number (with the plaque to its left) is actually around the corner on the south side of West Hill Place. In Tony Mould's second photo, the car is parked right outside the front door in West Hill Place.

By Alan Hobden (01/01/2015)

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.