MaxBeerbohm was born on August 24, 1872 in London, and is noted for both his wit and his talent as a caricaturist.
His only art classes were those he took under “Mr. Wilkinson” in the day school he attended between 1881 and 1885. He attended Merton College, Oxford, and there met Oscar Wilde who introduced him to other literary and artistic figures of the time. He was not a great student, and left Oxford in 1894 without getting a degree, but he had by then already made a name for himself as a humorist. One of his pieces of fiction, The Happy Hypocrite is represented in the holdings of the Rare Book Room.
The Happy Hypocrite, by Max Beerbohm. New York: The John Lane Company . Gift of Dr. H.M. Marvin.
While at Oxford, “Max” as he signed his drawings, began being known for his caricatures, done in pen or pencil with watercolor tinting. Thirty-six of his drawings were published by the Strand Magazine in 1892. In 1913 The Times called him “the greatest of English comic artists,” and his caricatures were widely published in magazines and exhibited in galleries. Collections of his caricatures are located in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; the Tate Collection; The Victoria and Albert Museum; and the University of California. The Rare Book room is fortunate to have some of his volumes of caricatures including:
A Peep into the Past, by Max Beerbohm. [New York: M. Harzof], 1923. Facsimile of the manuscript followed by the printed text. Limited edition of 300 copies printed on Japanese vellum. Gift of Dr. H.M. Marvin.
A Survey, by Max. London: W. Heinemann . First edition, limited to 275 numbered and signed copies. 51 tipped-in mounted plates of caricatures in half-tone. Our copy is number 4. Gift of Dr. & Mrs. Richard Huddleston.
Things New and Old/ by Max Beerbohm. London: W. Heinemann, 1923. First edition, limited to 380 numbered and signed copies. Our copy is number 226. Gift of Dr. & Mrs. Richard Huddleston.