Key inscription boosts 1891 copy of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’

While the binding, with Charles Ricketts’ familiar gilt design on the front cover, is not in the best of conditions, an inscription on the half-title of this example of one of the 250 large paper copies of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ published by Ward Lock in 1891 ensured that it set an auction record.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay

Sold for €80,000 (£70,175) by Christie’s Paris (25/20/13.5% buyer’s premium) on October 7 – more than doubling the previous best for the book – it bore a later, but key inscription: “Given to Pierre Loüys by his friend Oscar Wilde in London in June”.

Wilde had previously dedicated Salomé to Louys in appreciation of his comments and suggestions regarding the final draft of his French language manuscript, and though Wilde was put out by Loüy’s facetious response to that gesture, their friendship survived the slight.