Rediscovered II

Oscar Wilde, 1889. One of series by W & D Downey, Ebury Street, London, S.W.

You will recall the rediscovered photograph of Oscar Wilde (similar to the one above) that I featured in this post — where it was effectively published for the first time in almost 130 years.

The photograph had originally appeared in the March 10, 1893 issue of the Westminster Budget, in an article entitled “Mr. Wilde’s Forbidden Play” about Oscar’s French work Salomé.

At the time of that earlier post I expressed the hope is that an original print might come to light, but one has not done so yet. However, what has emerged is another copy of the newspaper, this time with a better quality image—now shown above.

So who do we have thank for this improved print?

Well, you may also recall that in the earlier article I mentioned there had been a clue to this photograph’s existence in a footnote in the Bibliography of Oscar Wilde, London, T. Werner Laurie Ltd, [1914] edited by Stuart Mason (Christopher Sclater Millard).

So it is no surprise it is to Millard that we first turn.

FORTUNATELY FOR US

Fortunately for us, Millard kept a scrapbook filled with Wilde ephemera. In fact, Millard kept 17 or 18 scrapbooks filled with Wilde ephemera. Not a lot people know that.

And, fortunately for us, Millard pasted into one of the scrapbooks (as verification of that clue about the photograph), a copy of the very page of the Westminster Budget that contained the picture.

And, fortunately for us, a Japanese collector in the 1920s purchased those scrapbooks and carefully preserved them.

And, fortunately for us, the scrapbook collection was eventually and kindly, donated to the Jissen Women’s University, a private college in Hino, Tokyo, Japan.

And, fortunately for us, the Jissen Women’s University quite recently decided to digitize the entire contents of those scrapbooks and place them online for the public to view.

Scrap Heap

The archive contains hundreds of items of interest to the Wilde scholar. In addition to the image above, I have showcased two other items that caught my eye:

—One is a rarely, if ever, seen example of a theatre ticket from a Wilde play: this one from An Ideal Husband—an upper box on the first Saturday, no less.

—The other is an amusingly aesthetic pastiche of Shakespeare’s seven ages of man speech from As You Like It.

[All images Courtesy of Jissen Women’s University.]


Related:

Jissen Women’s University Library

Animated gif from this image (OWIA Facebook)

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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).

4 thoughts on “Rediscovered II”

  1. Well done. A minor point – the date on the photo caption is wrong.

    Cheers!

    Geoff

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    Like

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