Oscar Wilde

(1854 – 1900)

Dramatist Oscar Wilde was renowned as an aesthete from an early age, as well as for his unconventional behavior, witty and paradoxical remarks, and dandified pose, which all brought him notoriety. He wrote a series of highly successful comic plays in the 1890s, including The Importance of Being Earnest. In 1895 Wilde was imprisoned for homosexual offenses, as a result of which he published The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898).

This photograph was taken in Napoleon Sarony’s New York studio during Wilde’s American tour in 1882, where he gave nearly 150 lectures throughout the United States and Canada.

By Napoleon Sarony (1821 – 1896)
Albumen panel print, 1882
National Portrait Gallery, London
© National Portrait Gallery, London