Saturday 20 January 2018

Oscar's little poem set to fetch a Wilde price at auction – €312 per word

Dick Barton

A HANDwritten poem by Oscar Wilde is expected to sell for up to €27,000 despite being just 87 words long.

The poem, titled 'Les Ballons', was written in the early 1880s, and could fetch €1,700 per line or €312 per word if it reaches its upper pre-sale estimate at the auction on May 8.

This would make it one of the most valuable poems ever written by an Irishman, according to Bonhams in London.

The auctioneers say that it is "one of Oscar Wilde's most original poems, dating from his mature years".

Antiquarian books expert Simon Roberts said: "It is a poem that is very evocative of a time and a place – Paris and the Tuileries Gardens in the 1880s."

The poem begins with the lines: "Against the shifting agate skies/ The light and luminous balloons/ Dip and drift like satin moons/ Drift like silken butterflies."

A signed photograph of Wilde, taken in 1882, is expected to fetch between €12,000 and €14,000 at the same auction.

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born at 21 Westland Row, Dublin,on October 16, 1854, and was 46 when he died in France on November 30, 1900.

Irish Independent

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