OSCAR WILDE MEMORIAL SCULPTURE
Welcome to the Oscar Wilde Sculpture located here at the corner of Merrion Square Park , in one of Dublin’s five historic Georgian squares.
Oscar Wilde ,author, playright and poet was born in 1854 at no. 1 Merrion Square – just across the road from where you are now.
This work of art consists of three pieces,the stone sculpture of Oscar Wilde, a pillar with a bronze of his pregnant wife and a pillar with a bronze male torso. It captures Oscar Wilde’s flamboyant and colourful personality, depicted at the age of 40 – a pivotal time in his professional and personal life.
This sculpture was designed and created by Danny Osborne, an Irish sculptor, and commissioned by the Guinness Ireland group. It was erected here in 1997.
Osborne used complementary polished colour stones and varying textures to create this striking lifelike pose of the writer sitting atop a 35-tonne boulder of white quartz from the Wicklow mountains.
He wanted to depict Wilde’s love of beautiful objects, including stones, as well as his colourful personality.
Let’s take a closer look at the statue of Oscar Wilde on his rocky perch.
Wilde is wearing a green smoking jacket with a pink collar, long trousers and shiny black shoes, with an unusual two-sided expression on his face, depicting both joy and sadness.
Wilde’s shiny green jacket is made from nephrite jade, sourced in Canada.
The pink collar is made of a rare semi precious stone called thulite, brought here from central Norway.
Wilde’s head and hands are carved from Guatemalan jade.
His trousers are made from larvikite – a crystalline stone from Norway, and his shiny shoes are black granite.
Now take a look at the two stone pillars which accompany the statue. They are covered in quotations from Wilde’s writing, setting out his thoughts, opinions and witticisms on art and life.
The etchings on the pillars are copied from the personal handwriting of famous Irish people including the poet Seamus Heaney and President Michael D. Higgins.
Now look at the top of the pillars. You will see two small bronze sculptures.
One is a pregnant woman. This depicts Oscar Wilde’s wife, Constance, and represents the theme of life, as she stares accusingly across the path at her husband Oscar.
The other sculpture is a male torso which represents Dionysus, the God of wine, youth and theatre – all of great interest to Wilde , who kept a statue of Dionysus in his office in London.
Oscar Wilde is remembered for his extensive writings, his sharp wit and his flamboyant dress. This fine sculpture is a fitting memorial to his art and his life.