Vyvyan Holland

Declaring nothing apropos (except astonishment) I send this from America footage I recently discovered of Oscar Wilde’s son Vyvyan Holland.

It is in the form of a TV interview alongside Brian Reade, curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, during a segment on the CBS TV arts program Camera Three about a V&A Aubrey Beardsley exhibition which had transferred to New York’s (then-named) Gallery of Modern Art.

The rare TV showing was a opportunity for Vyvyan to rival his more media savvy wife, Dorothy, who had made her latest appearance on American TV earlier in the month discussing fashion on the ABC show Girl Talk.

It provides a chance to see Vyvyan’s unassuming manner as he reveals personal experiences such as shooting moose and witnessing a bedridden bearded Beardsley.

I have managed to date this edition of Camera Three: it aired at 11:00 AM EST on Sunday, March 12, 1967. Here is the episode, made just seven months before Vyvyan died in October of that year.

The part containing Vyvyan Holland begins around minute 20.


In this more familiar picture of Vyvyan with his son, Merlin, the facial expression is slightly different from the featured picture.
The Bridgeport Post, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Sunday, March 12, 1967

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a independent scholar who has spent 30 years in the study of Oscar Wilde. He is a long-standing member of the Oscar Wilde Society, a founding member of the Oscar Wilde Society of America, and a former manager of the Victorian Society In America. For the last 20 years Cooper has specialised in Wilde’s 1882 lecture tour becoming a consultant on Wilde’s American experience to biographers and the wider media. Cooper lectures on Wilde and has conducted new and unique research into Oscar Wilde visits to New York culminating in a guided walking tour. Online he is a popular blogger and the creator of the noncommercial archive 'Oscar Wilde in America’ which incorporates his work on the Sarony photographs, and a detailed documentary verification of Wilde’s American lecture tour. In 2012 Cooper rediscovered Wilde's essay The Philosophy Of Dress that forms the centerpiece to his book Oscar Wilde On Dress (2013).

5 thoughts on “Vyvyan Holland”

  1. Ah, the days before everyone had media training. Poor Brian Reade looked like a rabbit in the headlights; by the time I knew him a decade later he had relaxed a great deal. The 1966 V&A Beardsley exhibition was my introduction to the 1890s and it’s good to know that Brian’s confidence that he’d found all the pictures there were to find has been proved spectacularly unfounded.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Incidentally, the photograph of Vyvyan Holland used at the top of this page is not a cropped version of the familiar picture of Vyvyan taken with a young Merlin Holland. See updated post.


  3. Holland and Reade’s dry (hard to watch, but had to look) interview – Refreshingly raw, honest and unassuming. The video also reminded me of Beardsley’s artistic courage and influence on art Nouveau and modern artists such as Picasso! Thanks John

    Liked by 1 person

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