Friday, 23 May 2014

Sample page #3

The third sample page from my Oscar Wilde Comics project and the first close up of our hero. (Click for full size). The painting Wilde and Miss Trip are discussing is Lawrence Alma-Tadema's Sappho and Alcaeus, which was first shown at the Royal Academy in 1881. In fact, you can see John Millais and another man inspecting in on the far right of Frith's A Private View, a recreation of the event.

The lines Wilde is quoting are taken from a poem by one of his idols, Charles Algernon Swinburne. The poem is Anactoria, named for one of Sappho's Lesbian lovers (the capitalisation of Lesbian is intentional; Sappho was not only lesbian in the sense we would understand today, but because she hailed from the Greek island of Lesbos).

The rather unsavoury chap who wishes to thrash Wilde is the journalist G. A. Sala. You can see him scowling behind Wilde in Frith's picture. Miss Trip is the woman in the green aesthetic dress in the foreground of the picture. In reality, Jenny Trip didn't attend the Royal Academy viewing. She was a professional model whom Frith paid to pose in his apartments, so he could be sure of representing the aesthetic fashion correctly. The account Frith presents of Trip in his autobiography is hardly flattering. He describes her as "a trial", says she was always late and that "her conversational powers were nil". Perhaps it's a good job that she's paired here with one of the greatest conversationalists in history!

Discover more about Oscar Wilde's American lecture tour, and my comic about it, at

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Sample page #2

The second sample page for my Oscar Wilde comics project. (Click for full size)

This scene is a recreation of William Frith's A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881, which stands as a pictorial record of Oscar Wilde's arrival on the London cultural scene. It also showcases the competing women's fashions of the day: the standard fashion, with tight corsets and large bustles, and the new aesthetic style championed by Wilde, characterised by loose gowns that hang from the shoulders. I've tagged all the famous guests. All except Wilde. You can probably find him without my help ;)

Discover more about Oscar Wilde's American lecture tour, and my comic about it, at