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Book Description

THE CATALOGUE OF AN IMPORTANT COLLECTION OF BOOKS AND MANUSCRIPTS BY OSCAR WILDE, TOGETHER WITH RARE EARLY PHOTOGRAPHS OF HIM AND BIOGRAPHICAL WORKS

Quarto (270 x 210mm), pp. 142, [2 (‘Absentee Written Bid Form’)]. Colour-printed illustrations in the text, some full-page. Original printed wrappers. (Extremities minimally rubbed.) A very good, clean copy.
Dealer Notes
First edition. The catalogue of a remarkable collection of books, manuscripts, photographs, and other artefacts by or relating to Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), which was offered at auction by Sotheby’s in London on 29 October 2004 to mark the 150th anniversary of Wilde’s birth on 16 October 1854. The catalogue is prefaced by a biographical introduction and a ‘Chronology of Oscar Wilde’, and the catalogue of some 104 lots concludes with an index. The lots are arranged chronologically and the catalogue opens with a collection of magazines with contributions by the young Wilde, a publisher’s presentation copy of Social Life in Greece from Homer to Menander by J.P. Mahaffy, Wilde’s tutor at Trinity College, Dublin, and Wilde’s own copy of Aristophanes’s Clouds, extensively annotated by Wilde when he was an undergraduate at Magdalen College, Oxford (the volume was later in the collections of Robert Ross, Wilde’s son Vyvyan Holland, and A.J.A. Symons). The catalogue included numerous presentation copies inscribed by Wilde – including copies of The Picture of Dorian Gray (inscribed to Marcel Schwob), A Woman of No Importance (inscribed to his mother, Lady Wilde), The Ballad of Reading Gaol (inscribed to William Archer), and The Importance of being Earnest (inscribed to Arthur Clifton) – and rare limited editions of his works. Many of the volumes were from distinguished libraries, including those of Robert Hoe, Jerome Kern, Mark Samuels Lasner, H. Bradley Martin, John A. Spoor, and A.J.A. Symons.

The collection also contained a significant group of autograph manuscripts and letters, some of which were unpublished at the time of the sale. These included a heavily revised manuscript of chapter 16 of The Picture of Dorian Gray, a manuscript of Wilde’s poem ‘Le Jardin’, and Wilde’s notes for an American lecture on art and craftsmanship, together with letters from Wilde to Richard D’Oyly Carte, Robert Ross, John Lane, Charles Ricketts, Herbert Beebohm Tree, and Leonard Smithers. Some notable depictions of Wilde were also offered in the auction, including contemporary prints of the celebrated photographic portraits of Wilde by Napoleon Sarony, an original print of Maurice Gilbert’s photograph of Wilde on his deathbed, and a pencil-and-wash caricature of Wilde by Max Beerbohm. The importance of the items offered in the catalogue, together with the well-researched descriptions and extensive illustrations, make this catalogue a useful bibliographical and biographical resource for the study of Wilde’s life and writings.
Author WILDE, Oscar Fingal Flahertie O’Wills – SOTHEBY’S
Date 2004
Publisher London: Sotheby’s

Price: £19.50

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