The Duchess of Padua

The Duchess of Padua (1883)

First produced by Laurence Barrett [who played Guido] on January 26, 1891, at the Broadway Theatre, New York, under the title Guido Ferranti.

First (copyright) performance in England given in London at the St. James’s Theatre, 18 March 1907.

First published as privately printed manuscript in 1883 [late May – early June] by William Arliss Andrews, London (see Donohue, Complete Works, vol. V, pp. 61-62).

First published in book form, London, Methuen & Co., 1908. (https://bit.ly/3qV03Ow)


GENESIS

“Wilde began writing the play in 1882 and completed it in Paris in 1883. It was written with the intention that it would be produced by and star Mary Anderson. Wilde entered into an agreement with Anderson’s manager, Hamilton Griffin [Mary Anderson’s stepfather], to complete the play by 1 March 1883, and in fact completed it on 15 March. In the end Anderson rejected the play stating that it would not appeal to audiences and that the role was not suitable for her. The play had its premier on Broadway, New York, on 26 January 1891 under the title of ‘Guido Ferranti’. It was produced by Lawrence Barrett, who also starred in it alongside Minna Gale in the role of the Duchess, which Wilde had originally created for Mary Anderson. The play was withdrawn after twenty-one performances.“ (British Library, Add MS 81619-81620)

“… most of the play was written in America and in England.“ (Beckson, Encyclopedia, p. 83)

“The Duchess of Padua / A Tragedy / written for / Mary Anderson / by / Oscar Wilde“ (autograph, in Wilde’s handwriting, Robert Ross Memorial Collection, University College, Oxford, https://bit.ly/39SCWgx [see below no. 6])

“At the coming Christmas Mr. Wilde purposes bringing out a blank verse tragedy in four acts, some essays on Greek art, and a collection of poems.“ (“Oscar Wilde“, Biograph and Review, August 1880, p. 135)

“‘What success this [Vera] meets with will determine what I shall do with another play I have brought with me. I don’t like, you know, to bring a thing out unless I can get it acted.’ – ‘What sort of a play is the second one?’ – ‘It is in blank verse.’“ (“Arrival of  Oscar Wilde“, in New York Tribune, Jan. 3, 1882, p. 5, quoted in Marland, Complete Interviews, p. 45)

“Over the course of his American lecture tour in 1882, Oscar Wilde pursued the idea of writing a five-act verse tragedy in the grand style. Despite later denials that he had never ever composed a play for a particular actor or actress [see “Mr. Oscar Wilde on ‘Salomé.’ – To the Editor of The Times“, The Times, 2 March 1893, p. 4: “I have never written a play for any actor or actress, nor shall I ever do so. Such work is for the artisan in literature, not for the artist.“], his ambition was to persuade the young American star Mary Anderson to purchase the rights to the work, finance a sumptuous production, and perform the title role. Initially called The Duchess of Florence, the play was still unfinished, perhaps hardly begun, when he commenced a series of letters to Anderson … in which he did his best to woo her to be his duchess.“ (Donohue, Complete Works, vol. V, p. [3])

[On his American tour, mid-July 1882, Newport, Rhode Island] “Through the resort ran the rumor that Oscar was working on a play between social functions. And as he flitted to other watering places and other homes, the same story persisted. He was, as a matter of fact, trying to shape up his tragedy, The Duchess of Padua …“ (Lewis/Smith, p. 383)

“Mary Anderson was playing in Boston when Wilde paused there on his way toward Canada. The twenty-three-year-old actress was impressed with his talents and was intuitive enough to discern genius where many others had seen only an amateurish flair for the theatre. They had discussed Vera, but in the end it seemed not as promising as The Duchess as Wilde outlined it.“ (ibid., p. 409)

“Pray telegraph to me here if you will be at home. I cannot write the scenario till I see you and talk to you. All good plays are a combination of the dream of a poet and that practical knowledge of the actor which gives concentration to action, which intensifies situation, and for the poetic effect, which is description, substitutes dramatic effect, which is Life.“ (letter to Mary Anderson, early September 1882, Complete Letters, pp. 178-9)

“Dear Miss Anderson, I will be with you on Monday at ten o’clock, Fifth Avenue Hotel. It is very important I should see you and settle the scenario, if our idea is to become a reality. I think I have conceived it that we shall simultaneously become  immortal in one night.“ (8 September 1882, ibid., p. 180)

“My dear Steele, I have spoken to the Griffin and to the lovely creature he guards – and told them that you might be induced to accept the superintendence and management of the production of my tragedy – the Duchess of Padua. I explained to them that you must have absolute control of everything and everybody. They agreed:
Now she wants this produced on January 22nd, and I think we might bring this out first – as it affords real opportunity for artistic setting and mounting which the Nihilist Drama does not. They or rather she is ready to spend any money on it. She is dreadfully alarmed at the prospect of its non-production – and I told her it could not be produced unless a great deal of money was spent on it.
Now I want you to write and make an appointment with her at Fifth Avenue Hotel this week. He is a brute – a γρυφον – a padded horror – with none but the showman’s idea – but she is simple and good, and tractable and lovable – and with you as the practical manager success will be assured. After this we will do the Nihilists – and then the world is at our feet!
But to begin with the Nihilists would be very foolish; as it affords no opportunity for artistic and beautiful setting.“ (letter to Steele MacKaye, Sept. 26, 1882, in MacKaye,  p. 446)

“On his return from America, Oscar spent several months in Paris [February till May 1883], working assiduously on The Duchess of Padua by 15 March 1883, and making necessary alterations to Vera. A friend of his mother, Clarisse Moore, invited him to visit her in Rome, but he declined the invitation. ‘Were I less busy, it would give me pleasure to accept,’ he wrote. ‘But at present I am deep in literary work, and cannot stir from my little rooms over the Seine until I have finished two plays.’“ (Amor, “Heading for Desaster“, p. 53)

EDITIONS PRIVATELY PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR: … THE DUCHESS OF PADUA: A Tragedy of the XVI Century written in Paris in the XIX Century. Privately Printed as Manuscript. [New York, 1883 (March 15).]“ (Mason, “Bibliography“ in Wilde Miscellanies, p. 329)

“Twenty prompt copies were printed for private circulation and use in the theatre.“ (Ross, “Note“, [p. v])

“My dear Miss Anderson, The play was duly forwarded some days ago: I hope it arrived safely: I have no hesitation in saying that it is the masterpiece of all my literary work, the chef-d’oeuvre of my youth.“ (23 March 1883, Complete Letters, p, 196) 

about the letter to Mary Anderson of 23 March 1883 (ibid., p. 196-203): “… a long, analytic letter about the play, comprising what is by far the most detailed and comprehensive statement that survives of any set of Wilde’s dramaturgical intentions.“ (Donohue, Complete Works, vol. V, pp. 5-6)

“I do not know on what grounds Mary Anderson rejected the manuscript. She may possibly have regretted her bargain and have taken advantage of the fact that the manuscript, which was not finished till 15th March [1883], did not reach her until more than a month after the date stipulated in the agreement. It cannot have been on the ground that the work was not a ‘first-class’ tragedy, for such it has now been universally recognised to be. I happened to be with Oscar Wilde in his sitting-room in the Hôtel du Quai Voltaire when her cabled decision reached him. It was some time towards the end of April. not having heard from her and his funds running low, he had that morning cabled to her in California, begging for an answer. We were sitting smoking, when the waiter brought in une dépêche pour Monsieur. Wilde opened it and read the disappointing news without giving the slightest sign of chagrin or annoyance. He tore a tiny strip off the blue form, rolled it up into a pellet, and put it into his mouth. Then he passed the cable over to me, and said: ‘Robert, this is very tedious.’ After that he never referred again to his disappointment.“ (Sherard The Real Oscar Wilde, pp. 236-7)

“Dear Mr Wilde: I have shipped today to your London address The Duchess of Padua. When you hear my reason for not accepting it, you will – I feel sure – feel satisfied. – I could not, under any circumstances, produce your play at the time mentioned in the contract. I need rest and shall devote my summer to take it. The play in its present form, I fear, would ,no more please the public of today, than would Venice Preserved or Lucretia Borgia.
Neither of us can afford failure now, and your Duchess in my hands would not succeed, as the part does not fit me. …“ (letter from Mary Anderson to Oscar Wilde, Victoria, Friday,  n.d. [April – May 1883], typewritten copy in the Steele MacKaye Collection, Dartmouth College. See also: The Oscar Wilde Collection of John B. Stetson, Jr., Anderson Galleries, New York, April 23, 1920,  lot 374)

“What Oscar never knew is that, working on revisions, the actress had decided against the play, writing to her close friend the critic William Winter that she had ‘a play from Oscar Wilde, which I shall decline – the situations and business are fine – but crime is its sole aspect – and I cannot deal with crime even in an artistic way, at least not yet.’ (Scarry, p. 186)

“Oscar Wilde, having now quite finished revising his Russian play ‘Vera,’ is now at work on a five-act drama for Mary Anderson, entitled ‘The Duchess of Padua.’
– ‘I have laid the plot at Padua,’ said he, ‘chiefly on account of the opportunity it gives of introducing gorgeous and delightful costumes. I should like to see my characters attired in raiment as glorious as that in Paul Veronese’s ‘Marriage at Cana.’’“ (“The Talk of Paris“, in The Evening Telegram, New York, April 17, 1883, p. 3, quoted in Marland, Complete Interviews, pp. 527-8)

“I have been in Paris and written my play for Mary Anderson. I am greatly pleased with it, it is the strongest work I have ever done, and got capital comedy in it, and wonderful picturesque effects.“ (letter to Steele MacKaye, 17 May 1883, Complete Letters, p. 209)

“… [Wilde] had twenty copies of The Duchess of Padua privately printed soon after his return to London in May [1883].“ (Donohue, Complete Works, vol. V, p. 6)

“‘But haven’t you another play to follow Vera?’ – ‘Yes, I have; but it has not been announced. It is a story of the Sixteenth century, and I’ve named it The Duchess of Padua. I began writing it while here before, but found myself unable to make headway while rushing around the country in trains. So when I went home I spent three months in Paris, and if Vera is a success I should like very much to put it on here.’“ (“Mr. Wilde Sanguine About Vera“, The New York Mirror, Aug. 18, 1883, p. 7, quoted in Marland, Complete Interviews, p. 556)

“‘Well, I will tell you, then, that I have a five-act drama, entitled ‘The Duchess of Padua.’ The period is of the fifteenth [sic] century, and the scene is laid in Italy. It is in blank verse and prose mixed. The prose is the comedy portion, and the blank verse is the dramatic parts. I have not yet offered it to a manager.’“ (“Oscar’s Opinion of ‘Vera’“, Philadelphia Press, Aug. 22, 1883, p. 3, quoted in ibid., p. 560)

“My dear Frankie, My play has been an immense success [first performance of The Duchess of Padua in New York, Jan. 26, 1891]. A thousand thanks for your congratulations. I hope to bring it out here soon, at some good theatre.“ (letter to Frances Forbes-Robertson, 16 February 1891, Complete Letters, p. 470)

“An edition, uniform, with Lady Windermere’s Fan and A Woman of No Importance, was announced by Elkin Mathews and John Lane in 1894. The author’s imprisonment in the following year prevented its publication.“ (ibid., p. 331n)

“John Lane, Wilde’s publisher, returned to Oscar’s house the manuscript of The Duchess of Padua and withdrew copies of his books from the booksellers [at the time of the trials].“ (Jullian, Oscar Wilde, p. 326)

“’In April, 1895, Mr. Wilde requested me to go to his house and take possession of all his unpublished manuscripts. He had been declared a bankrupt, and I reached the house just before the bailiffs entered. Of course, the author’s letters and manuscripts would have been exempt from seizure, but I found that the “Florentine Tragedy“ – together with the manuscripts of two other unpublished plays and the enlarged version of “The Portrait of M:r. W. H.“ upon which I knew he was engaged – had mysteriously disappeared. Someone had been there before me.
‘The thief was never discovered, nor have we even seen the “Florentine Tragedy,“ the “Mr. W. H.“ story, or one of the other plays – “The Duchess of Padua“ – since that time. … With regard to “The Duchess of Padua,“ the loss was not absolute, for this play, a five act tragedy, had previously been performed in America, and I possessed the “prompt“ copy. [see “The Duchess of Padua“, no. 26]“
(“Play’s Strange History“, interview Robert Ross, in The Tribune, London, 4 June 1906)

“When Wilde was arrested at an Hotel in Sloane Street in April 1895, he asked me to go to his house, 16 Tite Street, Chelsea, in order to secure his unpublished MSS. These consisted chiefly of ‘The Duchess of Padua,’ the enlarged version of ‘Mr W. H.’ and ‘A Florentine Tragedy.’ On reaching the house I found that the door of his library had been locked. He subsequently wrote from Holloway Prison and again asked if I had found any of the MSS. Accompanied by another of his friends I obtained access to the room, but was unable to find the missing works. A remarkable feature of the case was that all the published MSS. were lying about in various fragmentary states, and it was perfectly obvious that some one familiar with the author’s writing had been there before us. …
Whether any of the three MSS. escaped my notice, and were included in the sale, of course I cannot say. ‘The Duchess of Padua’ I possessed in a transcript, so the loss of the MS. was of no special consequence. I have been told, however, that all three MSS. are now in America, but I have never been able to hear anything definite or satisfactory on the subject.“ (Ross, “Introductory Note“ in The Writings of Oscar Wilde, vol. IX, 1925, pp. 207-8)

“The original manuscript [of ‘The Duchess of Padua’] was stolen, with other unpublished works, from the author’s house in April 1895.“ (Ross, “Note“, p. [v]).

“The Sphinx [Ada Leverson] has (1) The Duchess of Padua. (2) The manuscript of La Sainte Courtisane. (3) A bundle of A. D. letters. Would you give her from me my kind regards and most affectionate wishes and ask her to let Robbie have them, as I want them all three as soon as I am released.“ (letter to More Adey, 7 April 1897, ibid., p. 797)

“I knew about the rape of The Duchess of Padua: it is of course a ten-act tragedy now: the last five acts in prose. I know you are just as sorry as I am.“ (letter to Ada Leverson, ?1 June 1897, ibid., p. 871) 

“Presumably either the manuscript or a corrected copy of The Duchess of Padua had been lost or stolen while in Mrs Leverson’s keeping.“ (Complete Letters, p. 872n)

“My dear Robbie, You are quite right. The Duchess is unfit for publication – the only one of my works that comes under that category. But there are some good lines in it.“ (postcard to Robert Ross, Paris, 29 July 1898, Complete Letters, p. 1091)

“The only copy known to exist … is now in my possession. … The MS. … disappeared in 1895 …“ (Robert Ross to Richard B. Glaenzer, July 15, 1905, in Two Hundred Books from the Library of Richard Butler Glaenzer, The Anderson Auction Company, New York, November 28, 1911, lot 189)

“In 1898 I wrote to Oscar Wilde, offering him the plays [a private copy of The Duchess of Padua and a corrected copy of Vera; or, The Nihilists] as a gift. … Wilde’s Paris address was Hôtel d’Alsace, Rue de Beaux Arts, and there I delivered The Duchess of Padua and some leaves of his MSS.“ (Chesson, p. [389])

“Twenty copies for use in the theatre are said to have been printed, of which only four are known to exist. One, containing the author’s manuscript corrections, from which Methuen’s edition was printed in 1908, was presented by Mr. Robert Ross to the British ‘Museum.“ (Mason, Bibliography, p. 326)

NOTES, DRAFTS, MANUSCRIPTS

Version

Present Location

Shelfmark

Provenance

Catalogue Entries / Notes

1. Early Typewritten Manuscript

unknown

[see also no. 2]

carbon copy of no. 1

Steele MacKaye Collection
Dartmouth College Library, Hanover, NH

???

“A carbon copy of an original typescript whose whereabouts is now unknown resides in the Steele MacKaye Collection … It contains an earlier version of this same scenario [see no. 2], with some slight punctuational differences.“
(Donohue,
Complete Works, vol. V, p. [321])

2. Early Typewritten Manuscript of scenario
(“The Duchess of Florence“)

unknown

[see also no. 1]

carbon copy of no. 2

2 pages

[1882]

Steele MacKaye Collection
Dartmouth College Library, Hanover, NH

ML-5
Box 4, folder 22

no digital copy

“OUTLINE OF PLAY / by / OSCAR WILDE / THE DUCHESS OF FLORENCE / A tragedy in five acts. / PERSONS – / of the Play. / Ubaldo, Duke of Florence. / Bianca, his wife. / Count Mantegna. / Guido, a young man. / Astorre, his friend. / Judges Courtiers soldiers jailor maids of honour citizens“

[what follows is a typewritten scenario of Act 1, scene 1]

?Steele MacKaye

3. Autograph Manuscript
(“The Duchess of Florence“)

Scenario / Act I

5 leaves

1882

Robert H. Taylor Collection
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

RTC01 (Box 22, Folder 23)

no digital copy

placed on deposit in the Princeton University Library in 1972, and received as a bequest in 1985

“Autograph manuscript of a portion of Act I, scene I from ’The Duchess of Florentine, as submitted to Mary Anderson (American born actress) in 1882 and subsequently completed as ‘The Duchess of Padua,’ in 1883 and produced in 1891. Together with ALS (6 p.) to Steele MacKaye about the play, dated 11 Oct. 1882 [see Complete Letters, p. 186].

Unbound sheets, in red morocco slipcase.

Formerly from the collection of Steele MacKaye.“

“A manuscript of five folios, the first folio contains a partial list of dramatic personae, while the second through the fifth comprise a brief and somewhat fragmentary scenario.“
(Donohue,
Complete Works, vol. V, p. 67)

Robert H. Taylor

Steele MacKaye

Complete Letters, pp. 184, 186, 209

4. Autograph Manuscript

2 leaves

[1880-1882]

Robert H. Taylor Collection
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 

RTC01 (no. 171)

no digital copy

placed on deposit in the Princeton University Library in 1972, and received as a bequest in 1985

“Two non-consecutive leaves of autograph manuscript (fol. A and fol. B21), written on recto only.“

[dated 1880 by RTC]

“This  is a manuscript of two discontinuous folios. The first folio represents the very beginning of the play, but abruptly breaks off; the second contains a segment from the middle of Act I … . The text has been lightly revised by the author.“
(Donohue,
Complete Works, vol. V, p. 66)

Robert H. Taylor

?John F. Fleming / ?Jonathan Hill

“Fleming bought most of the other Wilde autographs as well [see The Importance of Being Earnest, no. 10], except for a couple that went to Jonathan Hill, who was seated next to a representative of the Clark Library in Los Angeles.“
(
The Book Collector, vol. 30, no. 2, Summer 1981, p. 237)

The Prescott Collection: Printed Books and Manuscripts, including an extensive collection of books and manuscripts by Oscar Wilde, Christie, Manson & Woods (Christie’s), New York, February 6, 1981, lot 421

“Autograph manuscript, comprising 2 leaves of the manuscript of The Duchess of Padua, with corrections [probably Paris, January-March 1883], 2 4to leaves of laid paper with watermark ‘De La Rue London,’ written on rectos only, gray paper board folder, printed paper label.

The two leaves present the beginning of Act I and a passage which occupies pages 13-14 in the first collected edition of 1908. A few differences between the printed text and these fragments are noticeable. In the manuscript, Wilde has altered the name of one character from Ascanio Petrucci to Ascanio Christofano, and has deleted the brief description of the setting, which appears in a similar but much expanded form in the published form. Wilde’s corrections, made in a darker ink and with a heavier pen, may have been made at a slightly later date.

The 1908 edition of the play was based upon a printed prompt edition, one copy of which bears authorial corrections. The complete manuscript was among the unpublished works stolen during the sale of Wilde’s effects at Tite Street, Chelsea, on April 24, 1895. Fragments such as the present are in several private and institutional collections. The largest surviving portion appears to be the 122-page manuscript in the Wilde collection at William Andrews dark Library.

[with]

barrett, lawrence. Three autograph letters signed to oscar wilde, regarding the production of The Duchess of Padua, various dates from 20 September to 30 October 1890, together 6 pages 8vo, some soiling, one leaf torn. Also a financial statement from a London bank, forwarding payment from Barrett to Wilde.

provenance:
1. From the collection of Christopher Sclater Millard (‘Stuart Mason’), as shown by the characteristic paper boards and paper label
2. American Art Association, Nov. 19, 1925, lot 906 (Other Properties)“

sold for $1,600
(see Christie’s’ price list)

Marjorie Wiggin Prescott

Edgar Allan Poe’s own Copy of ‘The Raven’, First Edition; First Editions of the Second Part of ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’, Original Manuscript and Drawings of “The Pliocene Skull“ by Bret Harte; Original Manuscript on Painting by William Blake; Two Pages of Manuscript of ‘The Duchess of Padua’ by Oscar Wilde; and Other Properties, Anderson Galleries, New York, April 3, 1928, lot 150

“Autograph Manuscript of two quarto pages of ‘The Duchess of Padua’. Also 3 A.L.s. from Lawrence Barrett (who produced the play in New York) to Oscar Wilde, about 6 pp., 8vo (somewhat time-worn and torn), Thursday, no further date, and Sept. 20 and Oct. 30 1890; various addresses, chiefly about the play. Together with the financial statement from J. S. Morgan & Co., Bankers, London, dated Feb. 7, 1891, enclosing their cheque for £99. 12. 3, the proceeds of Wilde s draft on Lawrence Barrett for £100. Enclosed between the four remaining blank leaves of a writing book, bound in boards, and with printed label on the side, ‘Oscar Wilde Manuscripts’ the title, date ‘1880’ and folios being filled in in ink. 

The pages of manuscript, written on one side of the sheet only and numbered A and B21 respectively, are not consecutive. They have erasures and changes by Wilde. Written with a fine pen, they are extremely legible and present excellent specimens of Wilde’s autograph. The characters named are Ascanio, Guido, a Citizen, and Moranzone. The pages appear to belong to an early draft of the play. 

The letters from Barrett deal chiefly with the signing of contracts, but they are cordial, though the ending of one seems – but seems only – ferocious: ‘I can then tell you how sorry I am not to cast you helpless upon the rockbound coast of the Pilgrims – but that will come.

The two pages of manuscript are in blank verse. One commences with the direction: ‘Enter Guido Ferranti and Ascanio Cristofano’ – ‘Cristofano’ having been substituted for an earlier ‘Petrucci.’ The first speech is Ascanio’s: ‘Now by my life Guido l will go no farther:’
The second page commences with Guido’s lines:
Thou knowest me not;
Tell me the man, and l in everything
will do thy bidding
’.“ 

“MS. of two 4to pp. of ‘The Duchess of Padua.’ With 3 A,L.S. from Lawrence Barrett to Wilde about 6 pp., 8vo., Thursday, no further date, and Sept. 20 and Oct. 30, 1890, v. addresses, chiefly about the play, also financial statement from J. S. Morgan & Co., Banks, London, dated Feb.7, 1891, enclosing their cheque for £99.12.3, the proceeds of Wilde’s draft on Barrett for £100. Together 5 pieces, enclosed between 4 blank leaves of a writing book and bnd. bds., with printed label ‘Oscar Wilde Manuscripts,’ on the side, the title, date, ‘1880,’ and folios filled in in ink. NO (150) $130.00.“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. XXXIV, 1928, p. 777)

Christopher Millard / Stuart Mason

“From the collection of Christopher Sclater Millard (“Stuart Mason“), as shown by the characteristic paper boards and paper label.“
(
Prescott Collection, Christie’s, 1981, p. 183)

Robert Ross

5. Autograph Manuscript

2 leaves

[?1882]

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
University of California, Los Angeles, CA

W6721M2 D829

no digital copy

acquired in 1929

Wilde, Oscar.
[The duchess of Padua].
2 leaves; English; Wilde W6721M2 D829.
Reel: 22, Item No. 3

The duchess of Padua. 1882
MS. 2 leaves. 13×8 and 7-3/4×10 in. One leaf bears two names of characters; the other a fragment of dialogue that we included in the printed text.“

“[The duchess of Padua].
MS. 2 leaves. 13×8 and 7-3/4×10 in.
One leaf bears two names of characters; the other a fragment of dialogue that was included in the printed text.
Dulau 11.“
(
FInzi 2431)

“The most fragmentary of the surviving manuscripts of the play consists of two folios, in Wilde’s hand (…). The first folio, partly torn, bears two brief phrases consisting of character names; the second folio contains, on ruled paper, a few lines of dialogue which may relate to the action of Act V.“
(Donohue,
Complete Works, vol. V, p. 66)

“The names on the first leaf date clearly from an early point in composition when Wilde is trying out the names of characters. In the event, he abandoned the choice of any first name for Count Moranzone and settled on ‘Guido’ as the hero’s first name.

As for the second leaf, the dreadful metaphorical bell that the Captain wishes to silence may be invoking the prison bell that tolls so relentlessly in Act V …“
(Donohue,
Complete Works, vol. V, p. [319])

“MS in 2 leaves; characters’ names and a fragment of dialogue. Four-line fragment written on lined paper taken from a notebook. Seems evidence of an early draft of play. Distinct from [no. 13].“
(Small,
Oscar Wilde Revalued, p. 125)

A Collection of Original Manuscripts, Letters and Books of Oscar Wilde, including his letters written to Robert Ross from Reading Gaol and Unpublished Letters, Poems & Plays formerly in the Possession of Robert Ross, C. S. Millard (Stuart Mason) and the Younger Son of Oscar Wilde, Dulau & Company, London, n. d. [1928], item 11

“Two foolscap sheets bearing (1) two names of characters, and (2) a six-line fragment of dialogue, both from this play. The fragment is not included in the printed text.“

[Dulau catalogue price £5/5/-]

Vyyvan Holland

Christopher Millard / Stuart Mason

Robert Ross

6. Autograph Manuscript

1 leaf

Robert Ross Memorial Collection
University College, Oxford

Box 4: Ross Env. e.78.viii

no digital copy

rediscovered around March / April 2017

Wilde manuscript (1 leaf). Written on the recto in Oscar Wilde’s hand: ‘The Duchess of Padua. A tragedy. Written for Mary Anderson [Mary Antoinette Anderson later Mary Navarro, 1859-1940, actress] by Oscar Wilde.’ Annotated in the bottom left-hand corner of the recto in Ledger’s hand: ‘From R. R. [Robert Ross] to C. S. M. (Christopher Sclater Millard] to W. E. L. [Walter Edwin Ledger] 17 Nov. 1919’. Annotated in the top left-hand corner: ‘CSM’. Paper watermark: ‘De La Rue & Co. London’.“

[nos. 6 -7 were once tucked into Walter Ledger’s copy of The Duchess of Padua, 1883 [see below no. 19), together with no. 5 of Vera; or, The Nihilists. After Ledger’s death, they were housed in envelopes labelled with the book’s shelfmark “Ross e.78“]

“Whilst cataloguing the Robert Ross Memorial Collection, our Librarians have recently [2017] unearthed a literary treat in the form of three manuscript pages by Oscar Wilde. Once in the possession of Wilde’s literary executor Robert Ross, the pages found their way to Walter Ledger’s collection via mutual friend Christopher Millard. In Wilde’s unmistakable scrawl, the pages contain a dedication of The Duchess of Padua to American actress Mary Anderson (1859-1940), lines perhaps intended for Vera; or the Nihilists, and lines from The Duchess of Padua.“
{“A Wilde Discovery“, https://bit.ly/2AQcYfW)

Walter Ledger

17 Nov. 1919

Christopher Millard / Stuart Mason

Robert Ross

7. Autograph Manuscript

1 leaf

Robert Ross Memorial Collection
University College, Oxford

Box 4: Ross Env. e.78.x

no digital copy

rediscovered around March / April 2017

Wilde manuscript (1 leaf). Written on the recto in Oscar Wilde’s hand: ‘citizens pass across the scene some them into the church. Enter Guido Ferranti and Ascanio Petrucci [for The Duchess of Padua, possibly some text missing].’ Annotated in the bottom left-hand corner of the recto in Ledger’s hand: ‘From R. R. [Robert Ross] to C. S. M. [Christopher Sclater Millard] to W. E. L. [Walter Edwin Ledger] 17 Nov.1919’. Also written on the recto are ‘Act I’ at the top middle and a sum of numbers in the bottom right-hand corner. Paper watermark: ‘De La Rue & Co. London’.“

[nos. 6-8  belong together. They were once tucked into Walter Ledger’s copy of The Duchess of Padua, 1883 (see below no. 19). After Ledger’s death they were housed in envelopes labelled with the book’s shelfmark “Ross e.78“]

“Whilst cataloguing the Robert Ross Memorial Collection, our Librarians have recently [2017] unearthed a literary treat in the form of three manuscript pages by Oscar Wilde. Once in the possession of Wilde’s literary executor Robert Ross, the pages found their way to Walter Ledger’s collection via mutual friend Christopher Millard. In Wilde’s unmistakable scrawl, the pages contain a dedication of The Duchess of Padua to American actress Mary Anderson (1859-1940), lines perhaps intended for Vera; or the Nihilists, and lines from The Duchess of Padua.“
{“A Wilde Discovery“, https://bit.ly/2AQcYfW)

Walter Ledger

Christopher Millard / Stuart Mason

Robert Ross

8. Autograph Manuscript

65 folios

[1882-1883]

Eccles Collection
British Library
London

Add MS 81620 / Eccles 336

no digital copy

bequeathed to the BL in 2003

“’The Duchess of Padua’; 1882-1883. Autograph. Five act play originally titled ‘The Duchess of Florence’.“

“Draft with corrections and revisions. From the Schiff collection. Blue half morocco slipcase.“

“To all intents and purposes, the two manuscripts of The Duchess of Padua in the Viscount Eccles collection [nos. 9 and 10] comprise a virtual larger, single manuscript. The same paper is used – folio sheets folded, scored, and torn in half to make quarto sheets 20×25.2 cm – and other features as well indicate that the two manuscripts are effectively one. How they became separated is unknown. …

The two manuscripts comprise an extensive though fragmentary early draft, perhaps a first draft, of the play, in sixty-five folios (…) and nine folios (…) respectively, some written on both sides. …

The folios of both manuscripts are numbered in pencil, in two separate systems and by two separate hands; some numbers are circled, others not. We may presume the two sets of numbering were applied at different times.“
(Donohue,
Complete Works, vol. V, pp. 63-4)

Eccles Collection

Mary Hyde / Viscountess Eccles

Library of Mortimer L. Schiff

[the manuscript was not part of the Schiff library that went up for auction at Sotheby’s, London, March 23-25, July 5-7, Dec. 6-9, 1938, sold by his son John Mortimer Schiff]

Mortimer L. Schiff

[after Schiff’s death in 1934] “A library of rare books valued nearly at $800,000… It is understood that this library is included in the inheritance of the son and that it probably will be kept intact. … the autograph manuscript of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Duchess of Padua,’ appraised at $1.000.“
(
The New York Times, July 8, 1934, p. 8)

see also https://The New York Timesi.ms/2AJae3N, https://bit.ly/3bWDUay

Autograph Letters, Manuscripts and Documents … including the Collection of the late I. Remsen Lane, of Orange, N.J., Anderson Auction Company, New York, Jan. 26, 1914, lot 505

“Sixty-Four folios of the Original manuscript of the Duchess of Padua, non consecutive, written mainly on quarto sheets on one side of the paper, entirely in the hand of Wilde with elisions and alterations on nearly every page. Pencilled figures  are added referring to the pages of the Methuen’s limited edition of 1908.

An interesting manuscript showing many variations from the published text. The play was written in 1880-82, was printed in America in 1883, and produced  by Lawrence Barrett and Miss Minna Gale in New York in January 1891.“

“Part of the Original Autograph Manuscript of ‘The Duchess of Padua,’ not consecutive, 64 folios, written mainly on 4to sheets on one side of the paper, with alterations on nearly every page. Lane, A., Jan. 26, ’14. (505) $700.00.“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol XX, 1914, p. 833)

I. Remsen Lane

9. Autograph Manuscript

9 folios / 10 pages

1883

Eccles Collection
British Library
London

Add MS 81619 / Eccles 337

no digital copy

bequeathed to the BL in 2003

“’The Duchess of Padua’; 1882-1883. Autograph. Five act play originally titled ‘The Duchess of Florence’.“

“Draft. Blue half morocco slipcase.“

[being part of no. 8]

Eccles Collection

Mary Hyde / Viscountess Eccles

?H. Montgomery Hyde

Books – Manuscripts – Drawings of Superlative Importance Acquired by or for a Noted Philadelphia Collector, American Art Association, New York, April 16-18, 1923, lot 975

i.e. “Mr Hughes“
(
The Bookman’s Journal and Print Collector, vol. VIII, June 1923, p. 99)

Original Autograph Manuscript of a portion of his play, ‘The Duchess of Padua.’ Manuscript of about eleven hundred words, written in ink on 9 quarto leaves (10 pages). Loose sheets, laid in blue cloth folder, enclosed in half blue morocco slip-case. 1883

The manuscript consists of scattered portions of the play, one leaf (two pages) being written without the names of the characters.

Laid in is a bill from the Grand Hotel Voltaire, Paris, le 1er Avril 1883, to Monsieur Wilde, for hotel expenses from March 15th to 28th. It was during his stay at this hotel that Wilde wrote this play, ‘The Duchess of Padua.’“ [now in the British Library, Eccles Bequest, Vol. CXLI B., wrongly attributed to 1889]

Colonel H. D. Hughes

10. Autograph Manuscript

8 pages

unknown

[either identical with no. 9 or belonging to or forming nos. 9, 11 or 12]

Colonel H. D. Hughes

sold to Hughes, April 30, 1920
(see The Rosenbach, personal correspondence, Jan. 21, 2022)

“Many of these items [of the Stetson sale] – fifty-one of Rosenbach’s purchases at the auction, in fact – were destined for Colonel H. D. Hughes, as is clear from the extensive listing in Rosenbach’s sales records. … Hughes, a collector for Pennsylvania, curiously paid off his sizable balance primarily through daily installments of $100.00.“
(Mitchell and Haas, see https://bit.ly/3xpXd8k)

A.S.W. Rosenbach

purchased for $270

“At the sale of the Stetson collection of Oscar Wilde at the end of April, 1920, Dr. Rosenbach swept the board almost clean, taking virtually every item of real importance. He had been a Wilde enthusiast since his college days, when it was avant-garde to be mauve. His enthusiasm had been shared by Colonel H. D. Hughes of Philadelphia, who spent over $10,000 at the sale, wisely entrusting his bids to the Doctor.“
(Wolf and Fleming, p. 135)

The Oscar Wilde Collection of John B. Stetson, Jr., Anderson Galleries, April 23, 1920, lot 23

“DUCHESS OF PADUA. Original Autograph Manuscript of 8 pp., forming a portion of ‘The Duchess of Padua.’ Written on 4to sheets, with very few corrections.“

“Manuscript of a portion of ‘The Duchess of Padua.’ 8 pages, 4to. Stetson, A., April 23, ’20 (23) $270.00.“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. XXVI, 1920, p. 1039)

John B. Stetson, Jr. 

11. Autograph Manuscript

8 pages

unknown

[either identical with no. 9 or belonging to or forming nos. 9, 10 or 12]

?Anderson Galleries, 1924

“Eight leaves, possibly a portion from the Clark MS., were sold at the Anderson Galleries (New York) in 1924 …“
(Beckson,
Encyclopedia, p. 88)

12. Autograph Manuscript

1 leaf

unknown

[either identical with no. 9 or belonging to or forming nos. 9, 10 or 11]

Colonel H. D. Hughes

sold to Hughes, April 30, 1920
(see The Rosenbach, personal correspondence, Jan. 21, 2022)

“Many of these items [of the Stetson sale] – fifty-one of Rosenbach’s purchases at the auction, in fact – were destined for Colonel H. D. Hughes, as is clear from the extensive listing in Rosenbach’s sales records. … Hughes, a collector for Pennsylvania, curiously paid off his sizable balance primarily through daily installments of $100.00.“
(Mitchell and Haas, see https://bit.ly/3xpXd8k)

A.S.W. Rosenbach

purchased for $105

“At the sale of the Stetson collection of Oscar Wilde at the end of April, 1920, Dr. Rosenbach swept the board almost clean, taking virtually every item of real importance. He had been a Wilde enthusiast since his college days, when it was avant-garde to be mauve. His enthusiasm had been shared by Colonel H. D. Hughes of Philadelphia, who spent over $10,000 at the sale, wisely entrusting his bids to the Doctor.“
(Wolf and Fleming, p. 135)

The Oscar Wilde Collection of John B. Stetson, Jr., Anderson Galleries, New York, April 23, 1920, lot 24

“DUCHESS OF PADUA. Original Autograph Manuscript of part of ‘The Duchess of Padua,’ written on 1 p. 4to, without the names of the characters speaking.“

sold for $105 (see handwritten note in sale catalogue)

John B. Stetson, Jr. 

13. Autograph Manuscript

122 leaves

[1881-3]

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
University of California, Los Angeles, CA

W6721M2 D829

no digital copy

purchased in 1949, from Zeitlin & Ver Brugge

The Duchess of Padua, a tragedy in five acts. Written for Mary Anderson. 1881-1883.

MSS. 122 leaves. 10×8 in. Bound in half brown leather, 11 x 9-1/4 x 3 in. Original manuscript written in Wilde’s ‘Greek’ style, in ink on hand-made paper, water-marked ‘De La Rue.’ Many annotations, corrections and additions are on the versos of several leaves. With this: original mss. contract in holograph of the agreement between Wilde and Hamilton Griffin , manager of Miss Anderson; first page of a letter to Wilde from New York, dated Oct. 4, 1882, in which the writer states that he has received a telegram from Griffin saying that Miss Anderson had concluded not to produce the play until next September 1; ALS to Wilde from Griffin, dated Dec. 1, 1882.“

“The Duchess of Padua, a tragedy in five act. Written for Mary Anderson …
MS. 122 leaves. 10×8 in.
Original manuscript written in Wilde’s ‘Greek’ style, in ink on hand-made paper, water-marked ‘De La Rue.’ Many annotations, corrections and additions are on the versos of several leaves.
With this: original mss. contract in holograph of the agreement between Wilde and Hamilton Griffin , manager of Miss Anderson. 2. First page of a letter to Wilde from New York, dated Oct. 4, 1882, in which the writer states that he has received a telegram from Griffin saying that Miss Anderson had concluded not to produce the play until next September 1. 3.  A.L.S. to Wilde from Griffin, dated Dec. 1, 1882.
Bound in half brown leather, 11×9-1/4×3 in.
Without typescript.“
(
Finzi 2430)

“The manuscript of the play, a portion of which is now held by the Clark Library at the University of California, Los Angeles, includes Wilde’s handwritten dedication, ‘A Tragedy in five acts written for Mary Anderson by Oscar Wilde’.“
(Mackie, “‘The Modern Idea’“, p. 227)

“The folios are numbered consecutively, 1-124, in an unknown hand, in pencil in the upper right corner, and circled; two folios are missing, resulting in a total of 122 folios. … On the first folio is written: ‘The Duchess of Padua. / a tragedy in five acts. / [short rule] / written for Mary Anderson / by / Oscar Wilde.’ On the verso is a list of the settings of the five acts … . That the manuscript contains a title page and indications of settings, and the additional indication of being intended for the American actress … would suggest that it post-dates the Eccles manuscripts, which are also less full than this one and bear no title page. But in fact some of the versions of passages in [nos. 8 and 9] evidently represent a later stage of composition than corresponding passages in [the Clark manuscript] – so much so, that the hypothesis that all three manuscripts comprise one homologous manuscript cannot be ruled out.“
(Donohue,
Complete Works, vol. V, p. 66)

“In many cases the Clark manuscript and the two Eccles manuscripts converge, yet they seldom bear any explicit indications of priority supersedence, such as a passage or the entire contents of a leaf crossed out. None is dated or numbered by the author himself …“
(ibid., p. 251)

“The text is incomplete and without full stage directions.“
(Small,
Oscar Wilde Revalued, p. 124)

Zeitlin & Ver Brugge

Maggs Bros.

purchased by Maggs Bros.
(see
The Times, 28 June 1924, p. 14)

A Catalogue of a Collection of Rare English Black-Letter Books, the Property of a Gentleman; Valuable Books from the Library of the late Rt. Hon. C. G. Milnes Gaskell, with Other Properties, Hodgson & Co, London, 26-27 June 1924, lot 320

Original Manuscript of the greater part of the play, ‘The Duchess of Padua. A Tragedy in Five Acts. Written for Mary Anderson, by Oscar Wilde’ (cf. facsimile of title in Mason’s Bibliography, p. 328) comprising 124 folios, interleaved and bound in a 4to volume, boards, pigskin back [finished March 1883] 

An interesting Manuscript, containing many lines struck out and rewritten, and variations from the printed version of the play. Some passages are clearly rough drafts of first ideas, and are written out again in a revised or final form as they developed in the Author’s conception, thus revealing in some degree his method of dramatic composition.

“Besides the unpublished Wilde manuscript [‘The Woman Covered with Jewels‘] in the sale at Hodgson’s there are the holograph manuscripts of the last part of Wilde’s essay ‘The Rise of Historical Criticism’; the greater part of the manuscript of ‘The Duchess of Padua’; the original first draft of ‘Vera; or, The Nihilists’; the first draft of ‘A Woman of No Importance’ and the second draft, with the first  inception of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’ which Wilde commenced under the title of ‘The Guardian’; an early sketch of ‘An Ideal Husband’ and the typescript of the first act, together with a typed revision. … It is notable that in the first copy the title is deleted and ‘The foolish Journalist’ substituted, and afterwards struck out. In the revised copy the title is omitted altogether.“
(
The Bookman, New York, vol. LIX, August 1924, [p. 782])

[Gaskell was probably not the owner of Wilde’s manuscripts, judging by the catalogue entry: “Other Properties“

“Of the Wilde MSS. the best price was realised for the original manuscript of the greater part of the play The Duchess of Padua, which, comprising 124 folios, brought £98.“
(
The Bookman’s Journal and Print Collector, vol. X, August 1924, p. 182)

Vyvyan Holland

“He [Vyvyan Holland] also has a valuable collection of his father’s manuscripts including large portions of Vera and The Duchess of Padua and indeed nearly all those mentioned in my Bibliography.“
(letter Christopher Millard to William Andrews Clark, 9 Oct. 1922, quoted in Hyde,
Christopher Millard, p. 84)

“In the previous April [1922] Vyvyan Holland told Millard that he had been offered £600 for the ‘four exercise books containing the plays,’ presumably Vera and The Duchess of Padua and he asked Millard whether he ought to accept. Apparently Millard advised him to hold his hand with the result that Clark was able to secure them and they are now in the Clark Memorial Library.“
(ibid., p. 85)

[but: there is no mention of any exercise books in either description of Vera or The Duchess in the Clark Library catalogue. If Holland had his copies still in his hands in 1922, Vera cannot be the copy in the Clark Library [see Vera, no. 2] which came into its possession via the Stetson sale in 1920]

Christopher Millard / Stuart Mason

“An incomplete manuscript consists of 125 quarto leaves of hand-made paper, including three drafts for a title-page, one of which is here reproduced on p. 328 [https://bit.ly/3rzeewh].“
(Mason,
Bibliography, p. 331) 

[this could be an indication that the manuscript was in Millard’s / Ross’s hands at the time]

Robert Ross

Ross Box 1.14

Contents (1 item): Copy of Oscar Wilde work.

1.14 -Copy of Oscar Wilde work (88 leaves, 44 sections, of thin paper between 2 pieces of card). Tracings made by Walter Ledger of Oscar Wilde’s alterations and corrections to the original manuscript of The Duchess of Padua. 2 leaves unnumbered followed by pp. 13-23, 26-41, 44-47, 51-79, 86-101, 106-109, 112-113, 120-121. Note on first section: ‘Note: The alterations and corrections shewn [sic] on the thin paper pages in this volume, were traced by me from Oscar Wilde’s The Duchess of Padua, the property of Mr. Robert Ross. Walter E. Ledger. Wimbledon 13 June 1907.’“

14. Autograph Manuscript

Act 5

2 pages

unknown

A Catalogue of Rare and Valuable Books and Autograph Documents and Letters, Bernard Quaritch, no. 286, London, March 1910, item 1272

“Autograph MS. of some part of ‘The Sphinx,’ rough draft, 6 pp., 4to.
(2) Headings for part of ‘Impressions of America,’ 1
page, 4to.
(3) Abstract from Act V of The Duchess of Padua, 2
pp., 4to., unpublished
(4) Commencement of letter, unsigned, 1
page, 4to., with photograph of the author when a young man 30 0 0“

A Catalogue of Selected Editions of Works in English Literature, Bernard Quaritch, London, 1908, item 1629

“Autograph MS. of some part of ‘The Sphinx,’ rough draft, 6 pp., 4to.
(2) Headings for part of ‘Impressions of America,’ 1
page, 4to.
(3) Abstract from Act V of The Duchess of Padua, 2
pp., 4to., unpublished
(4) Commencement of letter, unsigned, 1 page, 4to., with photograph of the author when a young man. 30 0 0“

A Catalogue of Documents and Autograph Letters of Historical and Literary Celebrities, Bernard Quaritch, no. 253, London, Nov. 1906, item 188 (3)

“Autograph MS. of some part of ‘The Sphinx,’ rough draft, 6 pp., 4to.
(2) Headings for part of ‘Impressions of America,’ 1
page, 4to.
(3) Abstract from Act V of The Duchess of Padua, 2
pp., 4to., unpublished
(4) Commencement of letter, unsigned, 1
page, 4to., with photograph of the author when a young man 30 0 0“

15. Autograph Manuscript

228 pages

March 15, 1883“ (written in Wilde’s hand at the bottom of the final page of the manuscript)

Fay and Geoffrey Elliott Collection
Leeds University, Leeds

Elliott Collection MS Wilde/5 

no digital copy

[photocopies are in the British Library, RP 5155]

gift of Fay and Geoffrey Elliot, 2002

“1 volume, manuscript notebook

Autograph manuscript of Wilde’s play ‘The Duchess of Padua’ (1883). 

Bound in fine black tooled leather bearing a gilt coat of arms on the front cover and held within a black custom-made box bearing the gilt lettering ‘Oscar Wilde / The Duchess of Padua.“

front page in Wilde’s hand:

“Op. II – The Duchess of Padua – A Tragedy of the XVI Century – by – Oscar Wilde – written in Paris in the XIX century – privately printed as manuscript.“ (https://bit.ly/3DNnqjI)

“The autograph manuscript consists of 228 pages and Wilde’s changes and corrections show the play developing. It includes instructions for printing the text, suggesting that this manuscript version was used for producing the first published edition of only 20 copies in 1883.

There had in fact been a privately printed first edition of 20 prompt copies in March 1883 and the presence of printers’ marks, including the note “20 copies“ in pencil on the title-page, and the precise correlation of the author’s corrections with the printed text, suggest that this manuscript was used for its setting.“

“A full manuscript of the play in Wilde’s hand, dated by him 15 March 1883 at the bottom of the final page, is now in Leeds University Library, in the collection of Fay and Geoffrey Elliott. Bound in black leather, it is stamped ‘Creuzevault’ (i.e. Henri Creuzevault, bookbinder) in gold at the bottom of the inside cover. Lettering on the spine reads OSCAR WILDE / [short rule] / THE DUCHESS / OF PADUA. … The paper is watermarked ‘DE LA RUE & CO / LONDON’. … All writing in Wilde’s hand is in ink; additional writing by other hands is in pencil and the numbers circled, in the lower right corner of the recto; most versos are blank, but text occasionally occurs there.

There are many revisions, all in Wilde’s hand. It appears that the author reviewed the completed draft of the manuscript at least once; Some of the corrections and changes are written in a darker ink.

A sure sign that the manuscript passed through the hands of a printer is the phrase written in the upper left corner at a slant, in orange pencil: ’20 copies’. … Wilde’s intention for the manuscript to be employed as copy text for a printed edition is confirmed by his adding, at the bottom of the title page, the phrase ‘privately printed as manuscript’.“
(Donohue,
Complete Works, vol. V, pp. 67-8)

“That the paper on which the final manuscript was written bears a London watermark suggests the he began his final stage of composition there before departing for the Continent  and that he took enough paper with him to finish the task abroad.“
(ibid., pp. 59)

“As a combination of internal and external evidence indicates, the manuscript dated 15 March 1883 served as copy-text for the privately printed edition issued in the late spring by the London printer William Arliss Andrews.“
(ibid., pp. 61)

Fay and Geoffrey Elliott, acquired in 1993

“In the 1980s and 1990s, collecting Wilde was a central theme for the Elliotts, the most striking purchase being the autograph manuscript of his second play The Duchess of Padua in 1993.“
(https://bit.ly/2zVcVPz)

[see also Donohue, “The First Edition“, p. 47]

Maggs Bros.

[see Donohue, “The First Edition“, p. 47]

Rick Gekoski

[see Donohue, “The First Edition“, p. 47]

Robert Abdy

“The complete autograph manuscript of Oscar Wilde’s second play ‘The Duch [sic] of Padua,’ which recently came to light, was bought by Sir Robert Abdy for $3.850.“
(
The New York Times, Nov. 26, 1927, p. 12)

“An amateur auction fan was puzzled the other day, attending a sale of rare books at an uptown galley. There was, in particular, an original Oscar Wilde manuscript which he had thought would go for ten or fifteen thousand, George Arliss had brought it to the states, and its fame had spread among the bibliophiles. But to the amateur’s surprise, the bidding on this particular work languished, and it went to a quiet little woman in the back for something like $3000. He was enlightened later by a dealer, ‘The buyer is a Morgan agent [most likely Bella da Costa Greene],’ said the dealer. ‘We all dropped out when we saw she was after it, because if one of us were to bid against her and get it, we never would get a bit of business from her. And, of course, it is worth while to have her on your list, as she is an important client.“
(“Daybook of a New Yorker“,
San Pedro Daily News, vol. XXV, no. 297, Jan. 19, 1928, p. 4)

A Few Choice Books and Manuscripts, Chiefly from Private English Collections, Anderson Galleries, New York, Nov. 25, 1927, lot 150

The Duchess of Padua. Op. II. The Original, Complete Manuscript. 226 pages, quarto.

There are two hundred and twenty-six pages, signed in full on the first page and the last, and on the half-title of Acts II, III and IV – pages 96, 138 and 188 (the whole manuscript is numbered in pencil, by somebody who prepared ‘copy’ for the printer). On the first page are two impressions of Wilde’s signet rings, one, apparently, though it is not quite clear, with his coat of arms, and the other, which is repeated on each-half-title, with the classic head of a woman, and with the signature underneath, ‘Longhi’ – presumably one of the two celebrated eighteenth century Italian engravers.

The ‘Op. II’ on the first page shows the trend, even in those early years, of Wilde’s mind. ‘The play’s the thing’, and he had already written ‘Vera’  which was produced in New York in 1882. So ‘The Duchess of Padua’ naturally became the second of his ‘magna opera’.

The second page is the ‘Dramatis Personae’; the third page, the ‘Scenario’, with the duration of each act meticulously recorded – twenty-five minutes for the first, thirty-six minutes for the second, twenty-nine for the third, thirty-one for the fourth, and twenty-five for the last; so Oscar evidently read and acted the whole play, from his manuscript—this manuscript – and timed himself and the actors and actresses he had not yet named. His métier was the theatre – and he knew it. 

Wilde was twenty-six when he wrote this for Mary Anderson. The first page has, in his own hand, ‘Written in Paris in the XIX century in the year of our Lord MDCCCLXXXIII’ – everything after ‘century’ being crossed out with a quill pen. In pencil, Mr. Arliss’s father has added: ‘Author of Vera etc.’, and as the first ‘Vera’ was not clear, the name was written again underneath. On several of the pages are the names of the compositors who set the ‘copy’ – in those days prompt copies were sometimes printed: now they would be typewritten. A few pages have been cut down by Oscar himself, and he has made some erasures.

The manuscript is complete and in perfect condition except for the title-page and three pages of the text, which are soiled and crumpled, but which can easily be put in perfect condition. It is the most perfect manuscript of Oscar Wilde’s in existence, and shows to perfection, as already mentioned, his exquisite handwriting. It varies considerably from the present printed version, which was rewritten –  largely, no doubt, through rehearsals. The characters and scenes remain the same, but throughout the lines have been made more ‘dramatic’ – and less poetical. 

This manuscript was sent to a printer with a special clientèle – William Arliss-Andrews, the father of the famous actor, George Arliss; and in the hands, or possession, of George Arliss it has since remained. … Of the twenty copies of ‘The Duchess of Padua’ printed from this manuscript, only four copies are now known. … .“

“Manuscript of ‘The Duchess of Padua. Op.II,’ complete, 226 pp., 4to. Signed in full on 1st and last pp. and on half-titles of Acts II, III, and IV. Also in his hand, on 1st page, is: ‘Written in Paris in the XiX century in the year of our Lord MDCCCLXXXIII,’ with words following ‘century’ crossed out. First page, bears, also, 2 impressions of his signet rings. Few pp. have been cut down by him and a few erasures have been made by him. This MS, which was used as a ‘copy’ for the 20-copy edition, was sent to a printer by a special clientèle – William Arliss-Andrews, father of George Arliss, and it has since remained in the hands of George Arliss. His father has added, in pencil: ‘Author of Vera, etc.’; pp. have been numbered, in pencil, by person preparing ‘copy’; and names of compositors appear on several pp. The manuscript is in perfect condition except for the title and 3 pp. of text, which are soiled and crumpled. X (150) $3850.00.“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. XXXIV, 1928, pp. 776-7)

“The complete autograph manuscript of Oscar Wilde’s second play ‘The Duch [sic] of Padua,’ which recently came to light, was bought by Sir Robert Abdy for $3.850.“
(
The New York Times, Nov. 26, 1927, p. 12)

Mitchell Kennerley, Nov. 5, 1927

“By a trick of circumstance one of the much sought manuscripts of a play by Oscar Wilde, believed by collectors to have been lost or destroyed, has come to light in New York. It is the complete manuscript of ‘The Duchess of Padua,’ 226 pages in Wilde’s exquisite handwriting, only slightly  yellowed by the forty-four years that have past since Wilde penned them in Paris.

The newly discovered document is now in the hands of Mitchell Kennerley, President of Anderson Galleries, to whom it was turned over last Saturday [Nov. 5, 1927] by George Arliss, the actor, its owner, who arrived from England last Friday on the Mauretania. 

..

Wilde was acquainted with a printer of Bloomsbury, William Arliss-Andrews, who frequented the reading rooms of the British Museum. When the copies were completed the manuscript was apparently forgotten, or Wilde may have given it to the printer. At any rate, it lay on the shelf in the print shop, and when the printer died it came into the possession of his son, now known on the stage as George Arliss, and was stored away.

… at his place in Kent, England, he discovered the manuscript early this fall.

With the exception of the first page the manuscript is in excellent condition. It is signed in full by Wilde on the first and last pages and on the half-titles of three of the acts.

On the first page are two impressions of Wilde’s signet rings, one with his coat of arms and the other, which is repeated on the other half-titles, is stamped in red wax, of the head of his mother, ‘Speranza.’

On the first page Wilde inscribed the play as ‘Op. II’. He had already written ‘Vera,’ so ‘The Duchess of Padua’ became the second of his ‘magna opera.’“
(
The New York Times, Nov. 8, 1927, p. 24)

George Arliss

son of William Arliss-Andrews

William Arliss-Andrews

printer of The Duchess of Padua

Ada Leverson

“Presumably either the manuscript or a corrected copy of The Duchess of Padua had been lost or stolen while in Mrs Leverson’s keeping.“
(
Complete Letters, p. 872n)

?Robert Ross

Ross Box 1.14
Contents (1 item): Copy of Oscar Wilde work.
1.14 – Copy of Oscar Wilde work (88 leaves, 44 sections, of thin paper between 2 pieces of card). Tracings made by Walter Ledger of Oscar Wilde’s alterations and corrections to the original manuscript of The Duchess of Padua. 2 leaves unnumbered followed by pp. 13-23, 26-41, 44-47, 51-79, 86-101, 106-109, 112-113, 120-121. Note on first section: ‘Note: The alterations and corrections shewn [sic] on the thin paper pages in this volume, were traced by me from Oscar Wilde’s The Duchess of Padua, the property of Mr. Robert Ross. Walter E. Ledger. Wimbledon 13 June 1907.’ “
(Robert Ross Memorial Collection, Oxford)

“… in 1907 [Walter] Ledger painstakingly transcribed Wilde’s handwritten alterations and corrections to the manuscript of The Duchess of Padua that Ross owned, on delicate paper that he then preserved.“
(Mackie
, Beautiful Untrue Things, p. 61)

privately-printed Edition

[London, late May – early June 1883]

op. II. / The / Duchess of Padua: / A  Tragedy of the XVI Century / By / Oscar  Wilde, / Author of “Vera,”  etc. / Written in Paris in the XIX Century. / Privately Printed as  Manuscript. / “
(see Mason,
Bibliography, pp. 326 and p. 329, https://bit.ly/3oojm4m)

“Twenty copies for use in the theatre are said to have been printed, of which only four are known to exist. One, containing the author’s manuscript corrections, from which Methuen^s edition was printed in 1908, was presented by Mr. Robert Ross to the British Museum in 1910 (Catalogue of Printed Books, C. 60. i. 22); the second (sold at Sotheby’s for £41 on May 31, 1907) is in the collection of Mr. Walter E. Ledger; the third belongs to Miss Minna K. Gale, who produced the play in New York in 1891; and the fourth is in the possession of Mr. Bruce Stirling Ingram, Editor of The Illustrated London News.“
(Mason,
Bibliography, pp. 326-7)

“Twenty prompt copies were printed for private circulation and use in the theatre. One of only two copies known to exist contain the author’s corrections …“
(Robert Ross, “Note“, [p. v])

16.  Privately Printed Copy

Wilde’s own copy / Robert Ross’ copy

British Library
London 

C.60.i.22 

1910, presented by Robert Ross

“The Duchess of Padua : a tragedy of the XVI century / by Oscar Wilde … Written in Paris in the XIX century. [New York?] : Privately printed as manuscript, [1883]. …

Presented by Robert Ross to the British Museum in 1910 with MS. corrections by the author.“

“Written on the cover: ‘Please return to / Robert Ross / 15 Vicarage Gardens / Kensington / Please Return’. Also written on the cover, in the upper right corner, ‘Robert Ross’ and, in Wilde’s hand, the date ’25 May 1891’.“
(Donohue,
Complete Works, vol. V, pp. 69)

“Ten years after Wilde’s death, Ross, his literary executor, donated to the British Library a copy of the privately printed edition of 1883 containing extensive annotations by the author (…). The annotations in this unique copy constitute the last evidence of the author’s contact with the text of a play he had begun as early as 1882 … . It is uncertain when Wilde reviewed this copy of his play … . The date ’25 May 1891′, written in his hand in the upper right corner of the title page, may indicate the point when he turned his attention back to his early effort …

Before donating his annotated copy of the private printing to the Museum, Ross had used it as copy-text for the Methuen copyright edition of 1907 …“
(ibid., p. 75)

“There are two impressions, at least, to be gained from scrutinizing these extensive revisions: that Wilde no longer felt the ebullient confidence in the play expressed at the time he completed the final version of the manuscript …“
(ibid., p. 76)

Robert Ross

“Typewritten Letter from Robert Ross to Richard B. Glaenzer, with numerous corrections in autograph. Through inadvertence the letter was unsigned. 3 pp., commercial size, with stamped envelope, addressed in longhand.
London, 10 Sheffield Gardens, W., July 15, 1905

(1) …

(2) … [re ‘Duchess of Padua’]. The only copy known to exist … is now in my possession.  … The MS.  … disappeared in 1895 …

(3) …

(4) …

Very long authoritative letter from Wilde’s Literary Executor.“
(see
Two Hundred Books from the Library of Richard Butler Glaenzer, Anderson Auction Company, New York, Nov. 28, 1911, lot 189)

Oscar Wilde

“In 1898 I wrote to Oscar Wilde, offering him the plays as a gift. … Wilde’s Paris address was Hôtel d’Alsace, Rue de Beaux Arts, and there I delivered The Duchess of Padua and some leaves of his MSS.“
(Chesson, p. [389], https://bit.ly/34rCS4F)

Wilfred Hugh Chesson

“There [in a bookshop in Queen’s Road, after the Tite St. sale] I bought Wilde’s beribboned Bible, some leaves of his MSS., the copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets which he had studied before writing ‘Mr W. H.,’ a private copy of Duchess of Padua and a corrected copy of Vera the Nihilist [sic], a tragedy which he wrote when he was seventeen. … Among the penciled marginalia of Vera I found this variant on an epigram attributed to Sir Robert Walpole. ‘Every man has his price – but he was really quite expensive.’ In The Duchess of Padua this witticism reappears in blank verse: ‘Why every man among them has his price, although, to do  them justice, some of them are quite expensive.’“
(Chesson, p. [389], https://bit.ly/34rCS4F)

17.  same

[Minna K. Gale’s copy]

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
University of California, Los Angeles, CA

PR5817 D821

no acquisition date

“The Duchess of Padua: a tragedy of the XVI century, by Oscar Wilde … Written in Paris in XIX century [sic], [Paris?]: Privately printed as manuscript, [1883].“

“First edition.

At head of title: Op. II.

Title in red and black.

Twenty copies for use in the theatre are said to have been printed, of which only four are known to exist. The play was not performed however, until 1891, when it was produced anonymously in New York, under the title of Guido Ferranti.

Author’s autograph on title-page.

Manuscript notes and corrections.

Bound in original gray-green paper covers, in green cloth case.“

“On the title-page is the autographic signature of Oscar Wilde. Twenty prompt copies were printed at the time of the first production and only four are now known; the present copy being that formerly owned by Minna K. Gale.“
(Clark/Cohen, vol. 1, p. 37)

Minna K. Gale

“Twenty copies for use in the theatre are said to have been printed, of which only four are known to exist. One, containing the author’s manuscript corrections, from which Methuen^s edition was printed in 1908, was presented by Mr. Robert Ross to the British Museum in 1910 (Catalogue of Printed Books, C. 60. i. 22); the second (sold at Sotheby’s for £41 on May 31, 1907) is in the collection of Mr. Walter E. Ledger; the third belongs to Miss Minna K. Gale, who produced the play in New York in 1891; and the fourth is in the possession of Mr. Bruce Stirling Ingram, Editor of The Illustrated London News.“
(Mason,
Bibliography, pp. 326-7)

“Agreement signed and dated granting American and Canadian rights to The Duchess of Padua to Minna K. Gale, June 20, 1891.“
(see William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, Wilde W6721Z A277)

18. same

[Bruce Ingram’s copy]

Eccles Collection
British Library
London

Eccles 64

bequeathed to the BL in 2003

“With manuscript note laid in explaining provenance. Formerly owned by Mr Bruce Stirling Ingram, and then by H. Montgomery Hyde.“

Binding: “In a blue buckram cloth box.“

Eccles Collection

Mary Hyde / Viscountess Eccles

..

H. Montgomery Hyde

Bruce Ingram

“Twenty copies for use in the theatre are said to have been printed, of which only four are known to exist. One, containing the author’s manuscript corrections, from which Methuen’s edition was printed in 1908, was presented by Mr. Robert Ross to the British Museum in 1910 (Catalogue of Printed Books, C. 60. i. 22); the second (sold at Sotheby’s for £41 on May 31, 1907) is in the collection of Mr. Walter E. Ledger; the third belongs to Miss Minna K. Gale, who produced the play in New York in 1891; and the fourth is in the possession of Mr. Bruce Stirling Ingram, Editor of The Illustrated London News.“
(Mason,
Bibliography, pp. 326-7)

19. same

[Walter Ledger’s copy]

Robert Ross Memorial Collection
University College, Oxford

Ross e.78

Op. ii. The duchess of Padua: a tragedy. … Provenance Robert Ross.“

“Handlist of the Robert Ross Memorial Collection. Bequeathed by Mr Walter E. Ledger to University College, and placed in the Bodleian on permanent deposit, April, 1932“ 

[the collection was returned to University College in Sept. 2013]

Ross  e. 78 The Duchess of Padua (1883)

Walter Ledger

“Twenty copies for use in the theatre are said to have been printed, of which only four are known to exist. One, containing the author’s manuscript corrections, from which Methuen^s edition was printed in 1908, was presented by Mr. Robert Ross to the British Museum in 1910 (Catalogue of Printed Books, C. 60. i. 22); the second (sold at Sotheby’s for £41 on May 31, 1907) is in the collection of Mr. Walter E. Ledger; the third belongs to Miss Minna K. Gale, who produced the play in New York in 1891; and the fourth is in the possession of Mr. Bruce Stirling Ingram, Editor of The Illustrated London News.“
(Mason,
Bibliography, pp. 326-7)

Robert Ross Collection: Envelopes, Box 4: Ross Env e.78.vii:
“Cheque
(1 leaf): ‘No. A.868195…London & South Western Bank, Limited. Wimbledon Branch’; from Walter Ledger to Robert Ross for the sum of £25.00; dated 3rd June 1907; signed on the verso by Robert Ross.“

Robert Ross

acquired for £41

Catalogue of Valuable Printed Books and Illuminated and other Manuscripts, Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, London, 31 May – 1 June 1907, lot 117

The Duchess of Padua, a Comedy [sic] of the XVIth Century, written in Paris in the XIXth Century, the very rare original American Edition of which 20 copies were printed for prompt purposes, original wrapper ‘privately printed manuscript,’ 1883.

As far as can be traced only one other copy is now in existence. The play was written in 1882 for Miss Mary Anderson who rejected it, but it was produced in New York in November, 1891 [January 26, 1891].“

[Ross named as purchaser, in unknown handwriting]

“The Duchess of Padua, a Comedy [sic] of the XVIth Century, written in Paris in the XIXth Century, original American edition, of which 20 copies were printed for prompt purposes, original wrapper, ‘Privately printed as manuscript,’ 1883, 8vo. (117) Ross £41 S. May 31.

[As far as can be traced only one other copy is now in existence. The play was written in 1882 for Miss Mary Anderson who rejected it, but it was produced in New York in November, 1891 [January 26, 1891. – Catalogue].“
(
Book-Prices Current, vol. XXI, 1907, p. 602)

George Procter Hawtrey

Robert Ross Collection: Envelopes, Box 4: Ross Env e.78.i:
“Hawtrey [
George Procter Hawtrey, 1847-1910, actor] explains that Mr [Robert] Ross has given him Ledger’s address and asked him to inform Ledger that he has a copy of The Duchess of Padua that he is considering selling at Sotheby’s in April. He explains that Ross thought Ledger would be interested in this and that ‘the copy of the privately printed as manuscript books had come to light’ [acting edition of 20 copies].“

Robert Ross Collection: Envelopes, Box 4: Ross Env e.78.ii:
“… the same as Ross’s copy [
see above no. 16] but is without any of Wilde’s corrections.“

Robert Ross Collection: Envelopes, Box 4: Ross Env e.78.iii:
“Hawtrey expresses his wish that he could have agreed to Ledger’s price for
The Duchess of Padua but explains that he took it to Sotheby’s last Saturday and that it will appear in their May sale. He continues to explain that he could not fix upon a price because the play has not been sold before and so no one can estimate what it ought to make. He apologises again to Ledger but suggests it is more sporting to put it up for auction and hopes Ledger’s bid may prove successful.“

20. same

[Edward Godwin’s / Marquess of Queensberry’s copy (with related autograph material laid in]

Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Duke University, Durham, NC

*PR5817 D821 1883 8vo c.1 

“The Duchess of Padua: a tragedy of the XVI century by Oscar Wilde … Written in Paris in XIX century … [Paris?] Privately printed as manuscript [1883].

Original gray green wrappers. Laid in red morocco case with the Marquess of Queensberrys arms in gilt on upper cover.; Ms. notes and draft letter by Edward William Godwin.“

[not mentioned in Mason’s Bibliography]

“On the title page of Godwin’s copy of the play the subtitle indicating the century of the play is changed from ‘XVI’ to ’XIV’.“
(Donohue,
Complete Works, vol. V, p. 7n)

“Wilde had evidently entrusted Godwin with the task of mounting a London production of The Duchess at the Olympic Theatre in early 1885 and given him a copy of the 1883 private printing. … Godwin marked up the script extensively, adding and altering stage directions, devising blocking, imposing manifold cuts in the text, sometimes in heavy  orange ink, and adding hastily drawn yet lucid sketches of ground plans at the beginning sof the acts for the five different scenes, as well as a perspective rendering for Act III.“
(ibid., p. 7)

“… the prospective Olympic production … never materialized, and nothing further appears to be discoverable about it.“
(ibid., p. 9)

[facsimile of the first page of Act III, with Godwin’s alterations and with sketches of a ground plan, see Donohue, “Godwin’s Failed Production“, p. 39]

G. F. Sims

“It has, as the bookseller’s description explains, ‘the original grey wrappers’ and is ‘preserved in a red morocco case with the Marquess of Queensberry’s arms in gilt on the upper cover’ (G. F. Sims, Rare Books, offer letter, Duke).“
(Donohue,
Complete Works, vol. V, p. 7n)

Printed Books, Christie, Manson & Woods, Jan 24, 1973, lot 239 

“Op. II. The Duchess of Padua: a Tragedy of the XVI Century. Lond.: Pvtly ptd, 1883. 12mo, orig. wraps. With related autograph material laid in. One of 20 ptd for use in the theater. The Marchioness of Queensberry copy. C Jan 24 (239) £900 [Sims].“
(
American Book-Prices Current, vol. 79, 1973, p. 971)

“Terry“

?

Catalogue of Valuable Printed Books, Autograph Letters, Historical Documents, etc., Sotheby’s, London, 10-11 March 1952, lot 272

The Duchess of Padua: a Tragedy of the 16th [14th] [sic ] Century, first edition, limited to about 20 copies for use in the theatre, with numerous MS. corrections, etc., original wrapper, slightly frayed, 8vo Privately Printed as Manuscript, [1883]“

[sold to “Terry“ for £48, see Sotheby’s price-list]

Marquess of Queensberry

Marquess of Queensberry’s arms on cover of red morocco case

Edward William Godwin

21. same

[Steele MacKaye’s copy]

unknown

[not mentioned in Mason’s Bibliography]

Oscar Wilde, Sotheby’s, London, 29 Oct. 2004, lot 28

“The Duchess of Padua: A Tragedy of the XVI Century. Privately Printed as Manuscript, [?1883]

8vo, First Edition, Presentation Copy inscribed by the Author on the crossed-through title-page(‘To Steele MacKaye / from / his friend /Oscar Wilde’) and on the lower wrapper with the address of his mother (‘116 Park Street / Grosvenor Square / London’), title-page printed in red and black, original paper wrappers, fitted case and morocco-backed slipcase, title-page spotted, comers of title-page, 3 preliminary leaves, and final four leaves, also backstrip and edges wrappers restored and repaired .

This is an exceptionally rare work by Oscar Wilde and the only known presentation copy. Mason claims that twenty copies were printed for use in the theatre but he was only able to locate four, including the author’s own copy with corrections, later used for the Methuen 1908 edition, now in the British Library. Other copies located by Mason belonged to Walter E. Ledger, Minna K. Gale who starred in the play in New York, and Bruce Stirling Ingram, editor of The Illustrated London News. This present copy was not known to him. Holland and Hart-Davis believe that less than twelve copies are known of today and although the British Library states that these copies were probably printed in America at the time of the performance of the play there in 1891, they remain uncertain as to place and date of publication.

Provenance: James Morrison Steele Mackaye, inscription; J.O. Edwards, booklabel.

£30,000-40,000“

sold for £42,000 (see catalogue: https://bit.ly/2NJm0C9)

John Simpson

The Duchess of Padua: a Tragedy of the XVI Century, ‘Privately Printed as Manuscript’, n.p., n.d. [1883]. (Mason 304 [i.e. no. 312, p. 326]). PRESENTATION COPY TO STEELE MACKAYE. Though twenty copies are said to have been printed, Mason located only four examples, including the British Museum copy with the author’s corrections, which was used for Methuen’s 1908 edition. THIS IS THE ONLY KNOWN PRESENTATION COPY OF THE DUCHESS OF PADUA. It is inscribed from Wilde to Steele Mackaye, the actor and dramatist, who was going to produce and direct the play: ‘To Steele Mackaye from his friend Oscar Wilde’. Lady Wilde’s address, also in Wilde’s hand, on the rear cover, reads ‘116 Park Street, Grosvenor Square, London’. In a letter to the actress Mary Anderson dated September 1882 (See Complete Letters, p.181), Wilde writes that Mr. Steele Mackaye has estimated the cost of producing the play at 10,000 dollars, and that he (Wilde) considers this not at all excessive. In a further letter to her, Wilde writes, ‘Written by me, acted by you, and set by Steele Mackaye, this tragedy will take the world by storm. He (Mackaye) will represent me with full powers and be always at your service in need.’ Wilde considered Mackaye a man of exceptional talent, and was delighted that he was to direct the play. Unfortunately, Mary Anderson declined the play, believing that it would not be attractive to the public, and plans for its production were eventually cancelled. The Duchess of Padua was first produced in January, 1891 by Lawrence Barrett, where it was performed at the Broadway Theatre, New York, under the title Guido Ferranti.“’
(Gekoski,
The John Simpson Collection, p. 27, item 46)

?Rick Gekoski

J. O. Edwards

bookplate

Steele MacKaye 

22. same

[Norman Forbes-Robertson’s copy]

unknown

[not mentioned in Mason’s Bibliography]

Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association, Centenary Antiquarian Book Fair, London, June 8-11, 2006

“… a copy of The Duchess of Padua by Oscar Wilde, privately printed in Paris in 1883 and limited to twenty copies only. It is inscribed by Wilde in his distinctive hand: ’To my dear friend Norman Forbes Robertson From The Author Very Affectionally Oscar Wilde Aug. 31st, ’83’. … the Forbes-Robertson copy appears to be the only other presentation example known [but see Steele MacKaye’s copy, no. 21], and is one of about half-a-dozen surviving.“
(
Times Literary Supplement, 2 June 2006, p. 31)

Norman Forbes-Robertson

23. same

[?Henry Irving’s copy]

unknown

[not mentioned in Mason’s Bibliography]

“My dear Irving, On Wednesday last a poetic tragedy of mine called Guido Ferranti was produced in New York by Lawrence Barrett … Now, of course, you are the one artist in England who can produce poetic blank-verse drama …You have my play already under its first title The Duchess of Padua. Why not produce it?“
(
Complete Letters, pp. 467-8)

24. same

[?Mary Anderson’s copy]

unknown

[not mentioned in Mason’s Bibliography]

Mary Anderson

“My dear Miss Anderson, The play was duly forwarded some days ago: I hope it arrived safely: I have no hesitation in saying that it is the masterpiece of all my literary work, the chef-d’oeuvre of my youth.“
(letter from Oscar Wilde to Mary Anderson, 23 March 1883,
Complete Letters, p, 196) 

25. the same

[?Lawrence Barrett’s copy]

unknown

[not mentioned in Mason’s Bibliography]

“It seems inescapable that at one point Wilde had sent Lawrence Barrett a copy of the privately printed edition of The Duchess of Padua … .“
(Donohue,
Complete Works, vol. V, p. 10)

[The Duchess of Padua was first produced by Lawrence Barrett, New York, Jan 26, 1891, under the title Guido Ferranti]

Lawrence Barrett

26. Proof Copy (Robert Ross)

1906

William Andrews Clark Memorial  Library
University of California, Los Angeles, CA

*PR 5817 D821 1906.

Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900.
The Duchess of Padua, a play by Oscar Wilde.London, Methuen and Co. [1906]
4 p. l., 209, [1] p. 21 cm.; Proof copy of v. 1 of Methuen’s first collected edition of Wilde’s works1908. The proofs are dated September 25 and 26,1906. Numerous manuscript notes and corrections by Robert Ross, with his autograph on title-page. Cf. Clark, W.A. Wilde and Wildeiana. 1922-31. v. 4, p.33.; English; * PR 5817 D821 1906.
Reel: 9, Item No. 18

27. Lord Chamberlain’s License Copy

?Privately printed version

?British Library
London

[?March 1907]

“A copyright performance of the play was given in London at the St. James’s Theatre on March 18, 1907.“
(Mason,
Bibliography, p. 331)

28. Library of Congress

Copyright Copy

Library of Congress Washington, DC

July 6, 1906

Dramatic Compositions Copyrighted in the United States, 1870 to 1916, Volume 1, Library of Congress, Washington, 1918, p. 572

no copyright entry for the anonymously produced “Guido Ferranti“, Broadway Theatre, New York, January 26, 1891

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