Lot 127
Sold for £4,080 (US$ 6,853) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Autograph letter signed ("Oscar Wilde"), to "Dear Sir" [J.S. Redmayne], stating that although he cannot promise to make anything like a speech he has no objection to saying "a few words in support of one of the resolutions, if you really think I should be of service"; together with an autograph card by his wife Constance in the third person ("Mr & Mrs Oscar Wilde"), accepting the Duke of Westminster's invitation to the concert to be held at Grosvenor House on 28 April 1888, Wilde's letter 2 pages, integral blank, the latter laid into an album (see note below), Constance's card loose, 8vo, 16 Tite Street, [?April 1888]


  • INCLUDED IN AN ALBUM OF LETTERS BY ROBERT BROWNING, FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE AND OTHERS, IN SUPPORT OF CULTURE FOR THE WORKING CLASSES, written to the future Secretary of Goldsmiths' College, J.S. Redmayne, in reply to concert invitations; especially for that hosted by the Duke of Westminster at Grosvenor House on 28 April 1888 (to whom one or two replies are addressed). This was given by the Popular Musical Union, subject of a notice by Oscar Wilde in the January number of The Woman's World: "The Popular Ballad Concert Society has been reorganised under the name of the Popular Musical Union. Its object will be to train the working classes thoroughly in the enjoyment and performance of music, and to provide the inhabitants of the crowded districts of the East-end with concerts and oratorios, to be performed, as far as possible, by trained members of the working classes; and, though money is urgently required, it is proposed to make the society to a certain degree self-supporting, by giving something in the form of high-class concerts in return for subscriptions and donations. The whole scheme is an excellent one, and I hope that the readers of The Woman's World will give it their valuable support" (Selected Journalism, edited by Anya Clayworth, 2004, p.120). Our letter is unpublished, and no mention of Redmayne is to be found in The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, edited by Merlin Holland and Rupert Hart-Davis (2000). J.S. Redmayne went on to become the first Secretary of the Goldsmiths' Institute (later Goldsmiths' College), which took over the site of the Royal Naval School in 1889 and was opened in 1891, and is now known as Goldsmiths.

    Among those represented in the album, which – aptly – appears to have been put together for the edification of Redmayne's son Norman, are Robert Browning (declining the Duke's invitation, 20 April 1888), the explorer H.M. Stanley (agreeing to become patron of "the grand May Day Concert at the St James's Hall" in 1890), Joseph Joachim, Florence Nightingale (card), Sir Arthur Sullivan, George Grove (refusing to release Samson Fox from the RCM), Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (card), Cornelius Vanderbilt, Henry Irving (in Bram Stoker's hand), Leighton, Alma Tadema, Herkomer, Frederic Harrison, Walter Besant, W.E. Gladstone (his evenings very much engaged), and many others.
Lot symbols
Similar items