Although he died at the age of twenty-six, Aubrey Beardsley was one of the most influential English illustrators of the nineteenth century. Here he is shown as a grotesque, based on a contemporary French print of a carving of a gargoyle on the south tower of the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. The parallel seems appropriate. A year before he died, Beardsley noted that as an artist he had only one aim - the grotesque. 'If I am not grotesque I am nothing', he wrote.