The Aesthetic Craze
This item of the month draws attention of ephemera collectors to the exhibition The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900 at the V&A South Kensington, London from 2 April - 17 July 2011.
The exhibition brings together many of the greatest Aesthetic paintings and finest decorative art of this extraordinary movement. In contrast it is interesting and amusing to see how those “minor transient documents” depicted the world of the Aesthetes.
Above are two Victorian greeting cards that ridicule, in this case, feminine supporters of this fad. On the left a lady adopts a pose of affected ecstacy while holding adored emblems of the movement - a large sunflower blossom, in one hand and in the other a fan made up of peacock feathers.
The other card published by Alfred Gray is a pen and ink drawing, printed in black and gold. A young lady sits in a tight fitting dress, embroidered with peacock feather motifs, emotionally admiring a blue and white vase containing a peacock feather. The greeting reads: “May your New Year be quite intensely too too!”.