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Oscar Wilde

Cover of a volume of manuscripts and letters of Oscar Wilde, stamped in gilt with the Queensberry arms.

Gift of Lucia Moreira Salles, 2008

MA 7258

The volume has both a distinguished and intriguing provenance. It was Douglas's father, the ninth marquess of Queensberry, whose rage at his son's involvement with Wilde led to one of the most notorious criminal trials of all time, resulting in Wilde's conviction on charges that he had committed acts of "gross indecency." It is therefore striking to find, on the cover of the volume, stamped in gilt, the arms of the marquess of Queensberry—the shield flanked by two winged horses over the motto Forward. The manuscripts and letters housed in the volume were collected and preserved by the eleventh marquess of Queensberry, the grandson of the man who played a major role in instigating Wilde's downfall.