A Footnote, by Aubrey Bearsley

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A standing while holding facing the audience. His feet are tied by a rope that is attached to a pole.
A Footnote, by Aubrey Beardsley (1896)


This image entitled “A Footnote” is by Aubrey Beardsley and was included in The Savoy, volume 2 (April 1896). It is a pen and ink drawing that features an androgynous-looking man standing in a garden, holding a pole behind his back. He is dressed in pants and a jacket that both have ruffles and his face is very chiseled. Most curiously, his feet are tied together at the ankle by rope that seems to chain him to a larger post driven into the ground. The post features the torso of a satyr with its back turned towards the viewer.

According to several sources (cited below), this image is a self-portrait of the artist, Aubrey Beardsley. In Greek Mythology, a satyr is part man and part beast, typically with animal features and an erect phallus. Because the man in the image is tied to (or restrained by) the satyr, it is suggested he is defined by sexual lewdness and uncouthness. The tying at the ankles seems to imply bondage and sexuality, as does the smirk on the man’s face. If this is in fact a self-portrait of Beardsley, then he is revealing something about his sexual identity, insatiable sexual appetite, and passion for pleasure.


Works Cited

“A foot note.” V&A Collections. http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O901537/a-foot-note-print-beardsley-aubrey-vincent/.

“Aubrey Beardsley.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Aubrey-Beardsley.

“Satyr and Silenus.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Satyr.