Beresford Egan (1905 - 1984) was a satirical draughtsman, painter, novelist and playwright. He was born in London but raised from the age of five in South Africa, where he was educated. He returned to London in July 1926 after spending two years as a precocious sports cartoonist on the Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg.
He quickly established himself in the artistic and literary atmosphere of London. He not only illustrated the works of other writers, but also his own novels. He wrote three plays, composed songs and undertook theatre criticism and caricatures. He acted in British movies including "Latin Quarter" and appeared in the dying days of British music hall as The Great Daleno. His art was highly influenced by Aubrey Beardsley and many of his illustrations were in an erotic vein.
Egan is remembered as the rare original British exponents of art déco. He was one of the most famous people of London's bohemian scene for nearly five decades. His career graph was phenomenal, beginning with The Sink of Solitude, the dazzling debut which was a satire on the banning of Radclyffe Hall's controversial novel The Well Of Loneliness (1928). That book marked the beginning of a prolific phase of around six years during which Egan created numerous illustrations and book covers for works of Aleister Crowley, Pierre Louÿs and Charles Baudelaire. Egan was also a writer, and wrote a couple of novels, which he embellished with his wonderful illustrations. He also made illustrations for the monographs made by his wife Catherine Bower Alcock.
In later life he appeared as an actor in films.
He died in London in 1984.