A Nice Spot in London - A Conversation with Oscar Wilde
By Francesca Fenn, Nov 8 2018 09:45AM
Near Trafalgar Square, behind St Martin in the Fields and opposite Charing Cross Station is a statue of a man in a granite coffin. He is leaning out of the coffin, looking relaxed and chatty, and he is smoking. He is Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), an Irish poet, aplaywright and master of wit. Maggi Hambling's statue of him was unveiled in 1998, nearly 100 years after his death.
The coffin is inscribed with one of Wilde's most famous quotes; '"We are all in the gutter, but some of us
are looking at the stars." If you look carefully you can see stars inside his head.The shape of the statue invites us to sit on the coffin and have a chat! The statue has been quite contraversial, disliked by critics, but loved by the public. The other point of contraversy is that Wilde is smoking. His cigar is regularly stolen, maybe by souvenir hunters, or maybe by people who disapprove of him smoking - probably a bit of both!
Do stop and say 'hello' to Oscar Wilde if you are passing his way.
Nearest station; Charing Cross, also Embankment, Leicester Square.
PS. London's streets, squares and buildings are littered with statues old and new, great and small. If you fancy exploring more of them, and getting into Westminster Abbey free of charge, a day with 'If Statues Could Talk' is perfect for you!