Oscar Wilde went to prison 120 years ago for crimes relating to homosexuality.
More then 120 years later and the same HM Prison Reading is celebrating Oscar Wilde as an artist.
The famous playwright and poet sent to Reading gaol in 1895.
He served two years of hard labour for “gross indecency” with men.
During his incarceration, he penned the open letter De Profundis, written to “Bosie”, Lord Alfred Douglas.
Oscar Wilde found inspiration whilst behind bars to write a poem ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’
This poem reflects on the harsh rhythms of his daily prison life.
In one of the final acts as Justice Secretary, departing Conservative minister Michael Gove approved an art exhibition.
This was held at HM Prison Reading, which was closed in 2013.
The exhibition “Inside – Artists and Writers in Reading Prison” will see a number of famous artists and actors celebrate Wilde’s works inside the gaol.
Through September and October, performers including Ralph Fiennes, Maxine Peake and Ben Whishaw will pay homage to the prison’s most famous inmate, reading his works in the prison chapel.
The exhibition will offer the public an opportunity to reflect, in a particularly powerful place, on the implications for the individual when separated from society by the state.
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