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 clip, just seven months before Vyvyan died in October of that year.

The part containing Vyvyan Holland begins at minute count 21:12.


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 researcher, author, blogger and documentary historian. As a long-standing member of the Oscar Wilde Society in London, a founding member of the Oscar Wilde Society of America, and a former manager of the Victorian Society In America, he has spent 30 years in the study of Oscar Wilde, having lectured on Wilde, and contributing to TV, film, and academic journals including The Wildean and Oscholars. Online he is the designer, author and editor of this noncommercial archive Oscar Wilde in America, blogger, and moderator of the Oscar Wilde Internet discussion groups at Yahoo and Google. For the last 14 years he has specialized in new and unique research into Oscar Wilde in New York, where he conducts guided walking tours based on the visits of Oscar Wilde. In 2012 John rediscovered Oscar Wilde's essay The Philosophy Of Dress that forms the centerpiece to his recent book Oscar Wilde On Dress (2013).

4 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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