The Name of Dante Gabriel Rossetti is Heard for the First Time in the Western States of America

The Name of Dante Gabriel Rossetti is Heard for the First Time in the Western States of America 1916 Sir Max Beerbohm 1872-1956 Bequeathed by Sir Hugh Walpole 1941

A caricature by Max Beerbohm, after Oscar Wilde’s lecture tour in the United States. This audience seems sedate enough compared to the miners Wilde met at Leadville: “I have also lectured at Leadville the great mining city in the Rocky Mountains, we took a whole day to get up to it on a narrow gauge railway, 14.000 feet in height: my audience was entirely miners; their make up excellent: red-shirts and blonde beards …. I spoke to them of the early Florentines, and they slept as though no crime had ever stained the ravines of their mountain home, I described to them the pictures of Botticelli and the name, which seemed to them like a new drink, roused them from their dreams, but when I told them in my boyish eloquence of ‘the secret of Botticelli’ the strong men wept like children, their sympathy touched me and I approached modern art, and had almost won them over to a real reverence for what is beautiful when unluckily I described one of Jimmy Whistler’s ‘nocturnes in blue and gold’. Then they leaped to their feet and in their grand simple way swore that such things should not be, some of the younger ones pulled their revolvers out and left hurriedly to see if Jimmy was ‘prowling about the saloons’ or ‘wrastling a hash’ at an eating shop. Had he been there I fear he would have been killed, Their feeling was so bitter on the street. Their enthusiasm satisfied me and I ended my lecture there.”

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