1 of 15 portraits of Oscar Wilde
by Napoleon Sarony
albumen panel card, 1882
12 in. x 7 1/4 in. (305 mm x 184 mm)
Click on the links below to find out more:
This portraitback to top
This photograph of Oscar Wilde lounging against an appropriately artistic backdrop was taken by the New York studio photographer Napoleon Sarony. Wilde had arrived in New York in January 1882 on the steamship Arizona, with 'nothing to declare but his genius'. He needed a publicity photograph for his lecture tour, so he went to Sarony's studio and Sarony provided just what he wanted: an image of limpid dandyism in quilted smoking-jacket, silk knee-breeches and patent leather slippers. Apparently, ' Wilde arrived holding a white cane across his fur-lined overcoat. Sarony took him first in his seal-skin cap, then bare-headed in his long trousers, then bare-headed in his knee-breeches.' As Sarony declared, Wilde was 'a picturesque subject indeed'.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Victorian Portraits Resource Pack, p. 31
- Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney, N.S.W., Australia), 2010 Archibald Prize, 2010 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 2010)
- Callow, Simon, Character Sketches: Oscar Wilde and His Circle, 2000, p. 11
- Callow, Simon, Oscar Wilde and his Circle, 2013, p. 11
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 118
- Funnell, Peter, Victorian Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery Collection, 1996, p. 31
- Funnell, Peter (introduction); Marsh, Jan, A Guide to Victorian and Edwardian Portraits, 2011, p. 29
- Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 192
- Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 103
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 152
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 661
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 168
Events of 1882back to top
Current affairsThe Ashes Test cricket series is born. The series gets its name from a satirical obituary published in the English newspaper The Sporting Times, stating that English cricket had died and its cremated body was being taken back to Australia, after England, with batsmen W. G. Grace and Charles Studd, lost the first home match to Australia at the Oval.The Married Women's Property Act is passed, securing equal property rights between married couples.
Art and scienceEadweard Muybridge, British photographer, exhibits his images of animal and human motion, captured with his 'zoopraxiscope', a motion-picture machine recreating movement by displaying individual photographs in rapid succession, at the Royal Academy and Royal Institution. His studies and inventions contributed to the development of motion pictures, with E.J. Marey and the Lumiere brothers acknowledging his impact.
InternationalThe Zioinist movement begins, with the first wave of Jewish immigrants to Palestine, at this time part of the Ottoman empire. The Jewish people were in Diaspora, spread across the world, and Palestine, the place of Jewish origin but now also occupied by Muslims and Christians, seemed a logical place for a settlement.
Exhibitions and displays
- Setting the Scene: Staging and Backdrops in Studio Photographs
Until 4 December