[Wilde, Oscar. (1854–1900)] Douglas, Lord Alfred. (1870–1945) Green Posy Holder inscribed from Alfred Douglas to Oscar Wilde
Unit price per
A green glass posy holder with the etched inscription "To Oscar Love Bosie" and measuring approximately 1 x 7 cm. Small crack to rear lip of the glass, else fine.
Resembling a small vase, the posy holder was romanticized as a fashion accessory and typically used to hold the flowers brought to ladies by their courting 'gentleman callers'. Acquired from a small regional UK auction house, there is no recorded provenance with this diminutive Wilde relic. The etching is quite clearly of the period and given the unique nature of the names, we have no reason to doubt that it was indeed an item which passed between them.
The English poet and journalist, Lord Alfred Douglas, also known as "Bosie," was Wilde's partner for the last decade of the writer's life. Douglas's father, the 9th Marquess of Queensberry, strongly disapproved of their relationship, and was at the center of the libel lawsuit that ultimately led to Wilde's imprisonment for sodomy
The posy holder is accompanied by a copy of the satirical book first published in 1894, The Green Carnation by Robert Hitchens (1864 - 1950). The Green Carnation. London: The Unicorn Press. 1949. First. 8vo. xv, 175 pp. DJ with tears around edges, ownership signature Cambridge, 1953 in ink to ffe with a few pencil notes to this and other pages, overall very good.
The Green Carnation is a novel by Robert Hichens that was first published anonymously in 1894. A satire on contemporary champions of the Aesthetic Movement, it was withdrawn briefly after the scandal of the Oscar Wilde trial in the following year. Wilde had at first been amused by The Green Carnation and had written to Ada Leverson that "I did not think [Hichens] capable of anything so clever". But when the review of the book in the Pall Mall Gazette suggested that Wilde himself could be the author, on the grounds that "A man may certainly burlesque himself if he like; in fact, it would be a clever thing to do", he immediately denied the fact: "I invented that magnificent flower. But with the middle-class and mediocre book that usurps its strangely beautiful name I have, I need hardly say, nothing whatsoever to do. The flower is a work of art. The book is not."There are conflicting accounts of how the flower came to be associated with Wilde. Dyed flowers had already been in existence in England for a decade before he adopted it, and green carnations went on to be worn in the US by the Irish to celebrate St Patrick's Day. It is believed that Wilde and some of his supporters wore the flower to the first night of his play Lady Windermere's Fan in 1892.