Messalina and her Companion
Messalina and her Companion

Image credit: Tate

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Beardsley produced this image as an illustration for an edition of the satirist Juvenal's (AD60?-140) lewd and salacious text, the Sixth Satire, privately printed by Leonard Smithers. It was first published as an independent image in 1897, in Aymer Vallance's The Second Book of Fifty Drawings, erroneously titled Messalina Returning Home. Messalina (d.AD48) was the wife of the Roman emperor Claudius (10BC-AD54). She was notorious for her sexual appetite and Juvenal describes her nightly excursions from the Imperial Palace to work as a whore in a local brothel.


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More information

Messalina and her Companion




Graphite, ink and watercolour on paper


H 27.9 x W 17.8 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Presented by A.L. Assheton 1928

Work type



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