Oscar Wilde’s Cigarette Case

This silver cigarette case was presented by Bosie Douglas to his disgraced lover, Oscar Wilde. To launch Gilbert and Sullivan’s latest operetta Patience in America – a satire on Aestheticism – the impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte paid Wilde to undertake an extensive lecture tour of the United States in 1882. To everyone’s surprise (including his own), the flamboyant author and professional aesthete won over America – and the West – to such an extent that his lecture tour had to be extended into the following year.