British illustrator John Austen (1886–1948), like Patten Wilson another artist whose work is hard to come by today. Austen was one of the many young illustrators over whom Aubrey Beardsley’s etiolated shadow fell from 1900 onwards and it’s the first ten years of Austen’s work I find most interesting, mainly because of the Beardsley stylings. He’s not as original or as elegant as Harry Clarke but he’s a lot better than the frequently overrated (yet interesting for other reasons)
John Austen was an English illustrator inspired in his early days by the very stylish pen and ink work of Aubrey Beardsley. Though he soon left this style behind in favour of a more modern art deco approach, his illustrations for a 1922 edition of Shakespeare’s Hamlet are quite spectacular. Not surprisingly, Austen was a friend of Irish book illustrator Harry Clarke, whose incredible drawings for Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination I intend to scan and upload here soon.
Aubrey Beardsley, 'Ali Baba' 1897 Line block print This is one of Beardsley's most powerful and confident drawings. The size and obesity of Ali Baba's body is suggested in the most simple and minimal way. He almost seems to blend in with the background The book was left unfinished at his death from tuberculosis in 1898.