Wilde vs. Queensberry Begins

Oscar Wilde spent several years of his life in prison after being declared guilty of sodomy. His time in jail lead to illness and injury which eventually contributed heavily to his death. The libel trial of Wilde vs. Queensberry sparked a set of events into motion which would eventually lead him to jail.


Chronological table

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3
Date Event Created by Associated Places
28 Feb 1895

Wilde Receives Letter From Marquess of Queensberry

After an alleged homosexual relationship between Oscar Wilde and his son Alfred, the Marquess of Queensberry--John Douglas-- sent a letter to Wilde's club which stated "To Oscar Wilde posing Sodomite." Wilde intially read the letter as saying "To Oscar Wilde, ponce and Sodomite." Regardless, the accusation was damning and a potential threat to Wilde's reputation and livelihood and he immediately sought to refute it. Wilde sued Queensberry for libel, though he later dropped the charge after Queensberry sought to prove Wilde was in fact guilty of sodomy in order to clear his own name.

Jake Klingensmith
The start of the month Apr 1895

List of Alleged Boys Solicited by Wilde is Presented to Wilde

On April 1st or 2nd, Wilde is first presented the list of names of 13 boys he allegedly solicited "to commit sodomy." They included Edward Shelley (February - May 1892), Sidney Mavor (October 1892), Freddie Atkins (Nvember 20th, 1892), Maurice Schwabe (November 22nd, 1892), Alfred Wood (January 1893), Charles Parker (March - April 1893), Ernest Scarfe (October 1893 - April 1894), Herbert Tankard (March 1893), Walter Grainger (June 1893), and Alfonso Harold Conway (August - September 1894). It also listed several more unnamed men in three separate occasions. Mavor testified in favor of Wilde, Atkins' evidence was not used, and Schwabe, Scarfe, and Tankard did not testify. These names were all prepared in advance by Queensberry as a matter of proceedings in accordance with libel suits in England at the time where the accused (by virtue of pleading justification) must provide particulars to confirm their claim.

Jake Klingensmith
3 Apr 1895

Trial of Wilde V. Queensberry Begins

At the Old Bailey, the trial of Wilde vs. Queensberry officially begins. The trial was held at The Old Bailey, London's central criminal court from 1674-1913. The proceedings began with Sir. Edward Clarke (prosecution) making the opening regard. After his statement Clarke publicly read through Wilde's letters with Douglas in an attempt to preemptively negate any wrongdoings the Queensberry defense team would attempt to insinuate from them. Clarke's goal was to portray Wilde as an understandable man. Later, Wilde spoke on his own behalf and stressed his innocense of the claims Queensberry had made publicly regarding sodomy.

Jake Klingensmith