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The Oscar Wilde Collection

The Library's Oscar Wilde Collection is the only Wilde archive held in a public institution in Ireland and is unique in its focus on the playwright's downfall and exile. It comprises items of symbolic significance, such as a receipt for a loan of money Wilde received on leaving Reading Gaol in 1897, and the only known letter written to his son, Cyril.

The collection was the focus of a major exhibition in the Library of Trinity College Dublin in 2017 entitled Oscar Wilde: From Decadence to Despair. The photograph of Wilde below was perhaps the most iconic exhibit. Shortly after his arrival in New York for his 1882 lecture tour, Wilde posed for a series of photographs taken by Napoleon Sarony, then the most famous portrait photographer in America.

The Oscar Wilde trade cards below, titled National Aesthetics, were printed by E.B. Duval of Philadelphia to coincide with this famous 'aesthetic tour' and were hugely popular.

Shelfmark: TCD MS 11437/2/1/2 (Sarony portrait); TCD MS 11437/5/1, 3 (trade cards)

Oscar Wilde: From Decadence to Despair Online Exhibition

Caoimhe Ní Ghormáin

Caoimhe Ní Ghormáin is an Archivist in the Department of Manuscripts & Archives. Holding an MPhil in Early Irish, Caoimhe has a special interest in medieval and early-modern Irish manuscripts, as well as in Irish literary archives. She has worked with a diverse range of collections such as Oscar Wilde, John Banville and Máirtín Ó Cadhain.