Revealing Wilde letters sold for £30,000
A series of rare letters in which Oscar Wilde appears to proposition the editor of a ladies' magazine sold for more than £30,000 today, an auction house said.
In one of the five letters to Alsager Vian, the poet and playwright asks whether they could dine at his club before staying in his room.
But nothing appears to have come of Wilde's advances in 1887. Two years later, Vian fathered a son Philip, who went on to become one of Britain's most decorated admirals during the First and Second World Wars. In 1895, Wilde was imprisoned for homosexuality.
But the intention of the letters is clear.
In his final four-page correspondence, Wilde writes: "Come and dine at Pagani's in Portland Street on Friday - 7.30.
"No dress - just ourselves and a flask of Italian wine - afterwards we will smoke cigarettes and Talk over the Journalistic article - could we go to your rooms, I am so far off, and clubs are difficult to Talk in.
"This however is for you entirely to settle. Also send me your address again like a good fellow - I have lost it."
The letters were kept by Vian from the Society Magazines era until his death in 1924 when they were found in the locked drawer of his bureau.
They have stayed in his family until they were sold today to a British woman for £33,900 at an auction in Derby.
The auction attracted bids from America, Canada and Turkey but the letters will remain in Britain in the buyer's private collection.
Alan Judd, from Bamfords Auctioneers, which held today's sale, said: "Letters from Oscar Wilde are very rare, particularly at this time as he wasn't writing great plays and novels but very trite little pieces for ladies' magazines.
"What's interesting is that he appears to be propositioning Vian. It was only eight years later that he (Wilde) had his problems with homosexuality and was imprisoned.
"The letters were in perfect condition. There was only one intention in the letters, Wilde was hoping to meet up with him. If they could have shown anything happened, they would have made twice as much."
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
30,000 reasons why the rhetoric on immigrants claiming benefits can stop now
£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...
£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our Client has been the leader ...