2 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)
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This portraitback to top
A wit and dramatist, Wilde was renowned as an aesthete from an early age. His unconventional behaviour, witty and paradoxical remarks and dandified pose brought him notoriety while still an undergraduate at Oxford. His period of greatest creativity, including the publication of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) and a succession of brilliant comedies culminating in The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) was cut short by two years' imprisonment as a result of his love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas. Sarony's photograph, taken in New York in January 1882, shows Wilde wearing full aesthetic garb and preparing to proclaim his creed of art and beauty to audiences across North America.
Linked publicationsback to top
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- Setting the Scene: Staging and Backdrops in Studio Photographs (22 March 2016 - 4 December 2016)
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.
See this portrait
On display in Room 28 at the National Portrait Gallery