Rosenbach Manuscript of Oscar Wilde's extended "The Portrait of Mr W.H."

Oscar Wilde's "The Portrait of Mr W.H" was first published as a short story in the July 1889 issue of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. Some time afterwards, Wilde began an extended version of the story, which was lost after his bankruptcy sale in 1895 and never published in his lifetime. However, in 1921 publisher and president of Anderson Galleries Mitchell Kennerley brought to light the manuscript contained in this gallery. This manuscript contains annotated pages from the Blackwood's publication, marginal notations, and handwritten pages. It is the only known manuscript draft of Wilde's expanded version of "The Portrait of Mr W.H".

After its discovery, Mitchell Kennerley published The Portrait of Mr W.H. in 1921 under his own imprint and conducted the sale of this manuscript from the estate of Frederic Chapman to Dr. Abraham Simon Wolf Rosenbach. Frederic Chapman was the office manager of publisher John Lane, who had agreed to publish the story prior to Wilde's imprisonment. It is unknown why the manuscript was withheld for so long or exactly how it came to be in Chapman's possession. A limited edition of this expanded version was also published in London by Duckworth & Co in 1921. 

This manuscript is currently held by the Rosenbach Library and Museum in Philadelphia, cataloged as EL3 .W672p 921 MS. Photography of images were funded by a grant from Kutztown University.

This manuscript is reproduced with permission from the Wilde estate. Previously unpublished parts of the MS may still be subject to copyright protection depending on the usage and the geographical location in which such parts are reproduced. Please do not copy without permission.