Friday, November 26, 2010

Wilde in Swansea

After returning from a hugely successful and lucrative lecture tour of the United States in 1882, Oscar Wilde moved into a fancy house in Chelsea. In order to pay for its upkeep he was forced to go schlepping about the UK lecturing on aesthetics to provincial audiences. For the next few years places like Newport, Cardiff and Swansea would see a lot of the infamous Irish writer.

The attendance for Wilde's lecture on 'The House Beautiful' at the Albert Hall, Swansea, in 1884, was not as large as might have been expected given his notoriety. Apparently locals were politely attentive without being overly enthusiastic. During his talk Wilde waxed lyrical about Harmony of Colouring and Selection of Furniture. The good citizens of Swansea were astonished to discover that when purchasing furniture one should take into consideration comfort. He also suggested that if your mantelpiece wasn't aesthetically perfect you needn't necessarily give it away. Sound advice.