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Oscar Wilde portrait to be exhibited in the UK for the first time ever

By Will Stroude

A portrait of writer Oscar Wilde will be exhibited for the first time in Britain next year to coincide with celebrations marking 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK.

The six foot, full-length painting we be shown as part of Tate Britain’s Queer British Art 1861-1967 exhibition. Opening in April 2017, the exhibition will also feature the prison cell door behind which the Irish writer was imprisoned for gross indecency.

The painting, which originally belonged to Wilde himself, was sold to pay off debts during his trial for gross indecency.

Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain, said: “It’s wonderful to be displaying this important portrait of Oscar Wilde for the first time in Britain. It’s an extraordinary image of Wilde on the brink of fame, before imprisonment destroyed his health and reputation.

“Viewing it next to the door of his gaol cell will be a powerful experience that captures the triumph and tragedy of his career.”

Queer British Art 1861-1967 will run at the Tate Britain, London, from April 5 to October 1, 2017. The exhibition will look at the seismic shifts in gender and sexuality which occured between the abolition of the death penalty for sodomy in 1861 to the passing of the Sexual Offences Act in 1967.

It is curated by Clare Barlow with assistant curator Amy Concannon and will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue from Tate Publishing and a programme of talks and events in the gallery.”

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