THREE SCULPTURES BY DANNY OSBORNE
I was not especially happy with this video as I had to delete much of the footage as people kept getting in the way but that does in any way upset me … that it what happens at popular tourist attractions.
The Oscar Wilde Memorial Sculpture is a collection of three statues in Merrion Square in Dublin, Ireland, commemorating Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde. The sculptures were unveiled in 1997 and were designed and made by Danny Osborne.
Oscar Fingal O’Fflahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of the most popular playwrights in London in the early 1890s. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and his criminal conviction for gross indecency for homosexual acts.
In 2017, Wilde was among an estimated 50,000 men who were pardoned for homosexual acts that were no longer considered offences under the Policing and Crime Act 2017 (homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967). The 2017 Act implements what is known informally as the Alan Turing law.
English sculptor Danny Osborne was commissioned by the Guinness Ireland Group to create a statue commemorating Oscar Wilde, which was unveiled in 1997, by Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland. The initial budget of IR£20,000 was later increased to IR£45,000. Since marble alone was deemed inadequate, the statue was formed from different coloured stones from three continents. The torso is of green nephrite jade from British Columbia, Canada, and pink thulite from Norway.The legs are of Norwegian Blue Pearl granite with the shoes being black Indian charnockite and finished with bronze shoelace tips. The statue also wears a Trinity College tie made from glazed porcelain, and three rings – Wilde’s wedding ring and two scarabs, one for good luck, the other for bad luck.
The statue is mounted with Wilde reclining on a large quartz boulder obtained by Osborne himself from the Wicklow Mountains. The sculpture also includes two pillars flanking the boulder with one pillar having a nude pregnant representation of Wilde’s wife Constance Lloyd on top. The other one has a male torso representing Dionysus, the Greek god of drama and wine, atop it. Both flanking sculptures are in bronze and granite, and both pillars have inscriptions from Wilde’s poems carved onto them. The inscriptions of the quotes copy the personal handwriting of figures including Seamus Heaney, John B. Keane and Michael D. Higgins.
Three people, living at the time near to the artist’s West Cork studio, posed as models for the three sculptures.
When the statue was unveiled in 1997, it was the first statue commemorating Wilde, who had died 97 years earlier. It received near unanimous praise for the materials used and for its location near his childhood home at 1, Merrion Square. In 2010, the porcelain head of Wilde had to be replaced because cracks were forming on it. The porcelain head was replaced by a new one made of white jadeite.
In a May 2001 article in the Irish edition of The Sunday Times Mark Keenan commented on the surprisingly long wait for a commemoration of Wilde in his native city and suggested an explanation for the delay, “… a decade ago, more conservative elements among the Dublin public may not have dared allow his city to commemorate his name.” Art historian Paula Murphy agreed, saying, “It has taken nearly one hundred years for an Irish body, public or private, to risk suggesting that we might consider Oscar Wilde worthy of such commemoration. But then it has taken the same length of time for Ireland to awaken, reluctantly, to the existence of sexuality and the reality of the way in which it dictates a lifestyle.” It took as long for London, where Wilde spent most of his adult life, to commemorate the dramatist: Maggi Hambling’s A Conversation with Oscar Wilde was unveiled in 1998.