Frederick Henry Evans
- Frederick Henry Evans
- AUBREY BEARDSLEY
- Platinum print
- 4 7/8 by 3¾ in. (12.5 by 9.5 cm.) image 11 7/8 by 8 7/8 in. (30 by 22.5 cm.) sheet
The Anderson Galleries, New York, The Library of Frederick H. Evans of London, 20-21 October 1919, Lot 19A
Sotheby’s London, The Book as Art: Modern Illustrated Books and Fine Bindings, Part II, 21 November 1995, Sale LN5699, Lot 157
James Danziger Gallery, New York, 1996
Beaumont Newhall, Frederick H. Evans (Aperture, 1973), p. 11
Anne M. Lyden, The Photographs of Frederick H. Evans (The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), pl. 112
Evans had first encountered Beardsley around 1890. Beardsley (1872 – 1898), who was then a clerk in London's Guardian Insurance Company on Lombard Street, would spend his lunch hour browsing Evans's bookshop in Cheapside. Undiscovered as an artist, Beardsley occasionally bartered his drawings for books in Evans's shop. Of the present portrait, Evans wrote, 'His wonderful hands fascinated me. I well remember, on the morning I was working at him, saying that I verily believed he could pose as La Stryge of Meryon's extraordinary etching, so 'gargoyleish' did he sometimes look. At the word, he framed his wonderful profile in his long, bony, sensitive, nervous-looking hands, with their beautifully shaped and delicately kept nails. There at once was my study, and a study any artist would be in ecstasies to have drawn or painted' (Photography, Christmas Number, 1903, p. 6).
Evans’s unique, extra-illustrated volume of Gallatin’s catalogue of Beardsley’s drawings, from which this portrait comes, was sold in 1919 at the Anderson Galleries, New York, in an auction of Evans’s rich and varied collection. The auction was necessitated in part by financial difficulties brought on by the first World War. In his introduction to the Anderson Galleries catalogue Evans wrote, with characteristic good humor:
‘”Needs must when the Devil drives” – and this War has been the Very Devil, hasn’t it? So, I am compelled to part with very many of the things I have enjoyed so long, but, perhaps, have had long enough: to sell my Fancy Books, my Firsts, my few M. S. S. and my fewer unique things: an “omnium gatherum” of scarcities, all intrinsically interesting, whatever their extrinsic value may prove to be’ (quoted in Frederick H. Evans, Selected Texts and Bibliography, p. 105).
Evans also wrote the individual entries for the catalogue, and in his description of Gallatin’s Catalogue he notes, ‘The Original [Beardsley] Drawing is that of the full-page Border on p. 897 Le Morte Darthur, with [Evans’s own] portrait of the artist added’ (ibid., p. 106).