Grandson of Oscar Wilde views art being raffled to preserve writer’s historic home

Grandson of Oscar Wilde views art being raffled to preserve writer’s historic home

MERLIN HOLLAND was in Dublin this week to view a piece of art which is being donated by artist Gerard Byrne to help preserve the former home of his grandfather Oscar Wilde.

London-based Holland, who is Wilde’s only grandchild, was in town to present the diplomas at the American College Dublin’s graduation ceremony.

While in the Irish capital he took time to view Byrne’s Wilde Sunflowers, which the artist is donating to support the fundraising drive for the ongoing preservation of Wilde’s childhood home.

The house at Number One Merrion Square North in Dublin, where the Wildes lived for 24 years, was constructed in 1760.

As such, it requires constant maintenance and repairs.

Laid out as part of the Fitzwilliam Estate, Merrion Square is one of the best-preserved Georgian streetscapes in Ireland.

Outside Number 1 is where Irish writer James Joyce and Nora Barnacle met for their first date - a moment which was later immortalised in Jocye's Ulysses.

Gerard Byrne, artist-in-residence at Number One Merrion Square North in Dublin, shows his painting, 'Wilde Sunflowers' to Oscar Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland (Pics: Marc O’Sullivan)

Currently the house in need of repair, and fundraising is underway to support the associated costs.

One part of the house that needs immediate attention is the annex – the extension that Wilde’s father, the eye and ear surgeon Sir William Wilde, added in 1861, six years after the family moved in when Oscar was an infant.

The annex comprises Sir William’s former consultation room, a gallery and a balconied first floor orangerie.

All money raised through Byrne’s fundraiser will be used to address a series of recent leaks along this part of the house and damage to some of the ceilings.

Byrne, who is artist-in-residence at Number One Merrion Square North, painted Wilde Sunflowers from the first floor of the building, in a room titled The Speranza Room.

The room overlooks Merrion Square Park and the National Gallery of Ireland.

He created the painting during Oscariana: A Wilde Dublin Festival – Wilde’s annual birthday weekend celebrations which were held last month.

“Oscar and sunflowers are a valid conjunction because perhaps no writer in history has been associated with a single flower as closely as Oscar Wilde was associated with the sunflower in 1882, when he visited the flower’s native America for the entire year,” a spokesperson for Gerard Byrne’s studio explained.

Gerard Byrne's Wilde Sunflowers will be raffled to support the fundraising to preserve Oscar Wilde's former home (Pics: Marc O’Sullivan)

The painting will be on display at the Gerard Byrne Studio, Ranelagh, Dublin 6 - a creative studio and art gallery exclusively dedicated to Byrne’s work - until the end of November.

It will then move to One Merrion Square where it will be on display for the final week, before the prize draw for the painting will take place on December 8.

Anyone interested in taking part in the raffle can buy a fundraising ticket at

For further information click here.