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."
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen at th...
£36000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...