I had heard of Wilde only vaguely as the original of du Maurier’s Bunthorne, as a figure in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, the young man who walked down Piccadilly with a poppy and a lily; and when one day Frazier burst into my studio to announce that Wilde was coming up the stairs, I expected to meet someone pale and slender. Great was my surprise at seeing a huge and rather fleshly figure, floridly dressed in a frock coat and a red waistcoat. I was not at all attracted by his appearance. He had elaborately-waved, long hair, parted in the middle, which made his forehead appear lower than it was, a finely shaped nose, but dark-coloured lips and uneven teeth, and his cheeks were full and touching his wide winged collar. His hands were fat and useless looking, and the more conspicuous from a large scarab ring he wore. But before he left I was charmed by his conversation, and his looks were forgotten. Whistler, whom I told of this visit, was pitiless in his comments. Soon after, I met Wilde again at Miss Ruebell’s, and again found his talk enchanting. He held the whole table both during and after dinner.
KeywordsShaped Nose Libyan Desert Brilliant Faculty English Artist Golden Evening
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- 4.Charles Conder (1868–1909), English artist. He was a friend of Wilde and visited him in Berneval after his release from prison.Google Scholar