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A Conversation with Oscar Wilde facts for kids

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A Conversation with Oscar Wilde
A Conversation with Oscar Wilde (48928819126).jpg
The memorial in 2019
Artist Maggi Hambling
Medium Bronze, granite
Subject Oscar Wilde
Location London, United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°30′31″N 0°07′33″W / 51.50868°N 0.12589°W / 51.50868; -0.12589

A Conversation with Oscar Wilde is an outdoor sculpture by Maggi Hambling in central London dedicated to Oscar Wilde. Unveiled in 1998, it takes the form of a bench-like green granite sarcophagus, with a bust of Wilde emerging from the upper end, with a hand clasping a cigarette.

Creation and unveiling

The memorial was first suggested during the 1980s and early 1990s by fans of Wilde's work, including Derek Jarman. Following Jarman's death in 1994, a committee called "A Statue for Oscar Wilde" was formed to bring a tribute to fruition. The committee, led by Jeremy Isaacs, included the actors Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen, and the poet Seamus Heaney.

From sketches submitted by twelve artists, six were chosen to create maquette models of their concepts. Maggi Hambling's "witty and amusing" work was chosen for the memorial. The work is inscribed with a quotation from his play Lady Windermere's Fan: "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars". Hundreds of individual donors and foundations contributed funds for the project.

The statue is located in central London between Trafalgar Square and Charing Cross Station, behind St Martin's in the Fields church. The unveiling was on 30 November 1998. It was preceded in 1997 by an exhibition at the nearby National Portrait Gallery, bringing together drawings, models and maquettes. The London sculpture was just pipped to the post by the Dublin triptych Oscar Wilde Memorial Sculpture, designed and made by Danny Osborne and unveiled in Wilde's birthplace, Merrion Square, in 1997.

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