Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London

29 January 2011

Converse with Maggi Hambling's Oscar Wilde

Maggi Hambling's A Conversation with Oscar Wilde Statue was installed in 1998, in Adelaide Street, Charing Cross. She created it from green granite and bronze and shows Wilde rising from a sarcophagus, inviting passers-by to sit down and converse with him.

It wasn't until the late 1980s and early 1990s that people started to publicly question why London did not have a memorial to Wilde, and film-maker, author and painter Derek Jarman suggested a statue. When Jarman died in 1994, the Statue for Oscar Wilde committee was formed to ensure that his dream was realised.

Of twelve artists, Hambling's idea was chosen, showing Wilde rising from his tomb for a chat, smoking a cigarette. The base carries his famous quote from the play Lady Windermere's Fan, "We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars".

For more information click here.


  1. You know I've been all through Charing Cross area and didn't come across it. I shall have to look next time.

  2. I may be wrong but the position of the statue was the subject to controvesy. I did hear that the location used was [in wilde's day]where desperate parents would prostitute there teenage children, especially boys.
    Aside from that it's a wonder artwork and have a good look every time i walk past which is a regular basis

  3. Thanks for your comments, and that is interesting Max. I read that it was controversial, but couldn't find out why.

  4. last January we were filming with Maggi In the NPG and afterwords did an impromptu segment with Oscar. It was a lovely bit of filming. Maggi spoke very eloquently - so much so we used the whole segment in the end film- 'Maggi Hambling: Dead Or Alive'