Carroll Beckwith

Sarony photograph #19.
A NEW CHARACTER IN THE WILDE STORY

—by John Cooper and Erik Ryding—


Sarony photograph #19 must have been a favorite of Wilde’s as it is almost certainly the one he was referring to when, in March 1882, he wrote to his tour promoter, Richard D’Oyly Carte, to suggest that a lithograph of himself would help business. He said: “The photograph of me with head looking over my shoulder would be the best – just the head and fur collar.”

It is not surprising, therefore, that one occasionally sees this photograph signed by Wilde as a gift for friends, and two such examples can be seen in the footnotes.

However, a third example, featured above, is of more interest because it is inscribed: “pour mon ami, Carroll Beckwith” which, even for most Wilde scholars, invites two questions: who was Carroll Beckwith, and why is Wilde’s inscription in French?

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