The Chelsea flat where the eccentric playwright and poet Oscar Wilde lived for ten years is up for grabs.
The historical residence on Tite Street is where the writer, known for his wit and flamboyant personality, created some of his greatest work and enjoyed the height of his fame.
It was here that Wilde wrote his extraordinary first novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and what was to become his most famous play ever, The Importance of Being Earnest.
He moved into the Victorian home in 1884 with his wife Constance after achieving his first commercial successes. They went on to have two sons whilst living in the property.
The Wildes had built a reputation of having a luxurious taste and keen eye for design so, upon moving in, they spent seven months and a hefty sum of money to renovate it up to their standards.
At the time, the whole building was one sizeable house. It was subsequently converted into apartments during the 20th century.
According to English Heritage, Wilde did most of his writing in the library – a room on the ground level facing the street – while his bedroom was in the storey above.
A true eccentric, Wilde’s last year in Tite Street was eventful and ended harshly. After a row with the influential Marquess of Queensbury, related to Wilde’s association with the Marquess’ son, and a lost libel case, he was eventually arrested and charged with “gross indecency” – and found guilty.
He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and hard labour, and the entire contents of his home were sold, as ordered by his creditors.
Today, the area remains among the most desirable in London. A few minutes’ walk takes you to King’s Road, known for its many boutiques, high-end restaurants, and galleries. Literally just around the corner from the flat is Gordon Ramsay’s three Michelin star restaurant.
Nathaniel Wilde (no relation – just a fabulous coincidence!), manager at Hamptons International in Chelsea, tell us, “Tite Street and the surrounding area has long been associated with artists and writers from the Victorian era onwards, which is what attracted Oscar Wilde here.”
Within a few hundred yards are the former homes of other legendary writers, including novelist Mary Ann Evans (best known by her pen name George Eliot), Mark Twain, and Bram Stoker, author of Dracula.
“The flat has been stylishly renovated by the current owners. They added the glass rear kitchen/dining room, which floods the apartment with light, and looks out upon a charming west-facing private garden,” Nathaniel says.
We do love the look of the place; add to it the fascinating story behind it, and it becomes an exceptional rare find.