Oscar Wilde in the Royal Pavilion, November 1884 Review

Brighton Gazette, 20th November 1884
Brighton Gazette, 20th November 1884

On Tuesday afternoon, there was again a good attendance at the Music Room, Royal Pavilion, where Mr Oscar Wild lectured on “The Value of Art in Modern Life.” The subject was treated with remarkable ability, with great freshness of thought, and with characteristic elegance of dictation. The lecture was an eloquent  plea for simplicity and universality in art. It attempted no hard and fast definition of the province of art, but rather dealt negatively with the crude and mistaken ideas by which the culture and the appreciation of the really beautiful are surrounded. It insisted upon the importance of cultivating that perception of the beautiful which catches, with artist’s eye, those momentary visions of splendour and picturesque equisiteness which relieve and illumine the ugliness and commonplace of the 19th century world. It argued that it was not the duty of the painter to express human sentiment and pathos, for here the brush could not enter into competition with the pen. Pictures must either be symbolical or impressional, and in their reproduction of nature or of human life should appeal only to the sense of beauty. Whistler’s works were quoted as high illustrations of true art, which, as in the case of a noble piece of music, should comprehend in absolute unison and harmony the subject and its execution. In conclusion, the highest form of art, that of poetry, was dealt with briefly and, of necessity, inadequately; but whilst this phase of the subject would require another lecture, indeed a series of lectures, to properly illustrate, the discourse was an admirable example of a well-constructed disquisition.

Brighton Gazette, 20th November 1884
Brighton Gazette, 20th November 1884

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