WILDE (OSCAR) Portrait by Napoleon Sarony, albumen print, SIGNED AT THE HEAD BY WILDE, 1882
Lot 246
WILDE (OSCAR) Portrait by Napoleon Sarony, albumen print, SIGNED AT THE HEAD BY WILDE, 1882
Sold for £10,000 (US$ 16,340) inc. premium

Lot Details
WILDE (OSCAR)
Portrait by Napoleon Sarony (1812-1896), albumen print, SIGNED AT THE HEAD BY WILDE ("Oscar Wilde"), head and shoulders, turning to the side to look at the camera, numbered 19 in the negative, framed and glazed, 142 x 106mm., 1882

Footnotes

  • ONE OF THE BEST KNOWN IMAGES OF WILDE. It is one of the twenty-seven images of Wilde which Sarony took at the beginning of the former's tour of America in 1882. Sarony was the pre-eminent New York photographer of his day and one of the city's fovourite eccentrics. At his death he left the negatives of some 40,000 photographs of celebrities.

    Wilde, who was eager to make an international reputation, accepted an invitation to give a series of lectures to Americans on aestheticism. In preparation, he bought himself some suitably aesthetic outfits, including a long, heavy, fur-lined green overcoat (shown in this photograph). He became very attached to this coat, writing later that "it was all over America with me ... it knows me perfectly." It enfolded him when he set sail for New York on Christmas Eve, 1881, without a word of his lectures written. Betjeman referred to Wilde's love of astrakhan coats in his poem 'The Arrest of Orcar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel'.
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