WILDE, Oscar. Lady Windermere's Fan. A Play about a Good Woman. London: Methuen & Co, 1908.
8vo, original white buckram, lettered in gilt on spine and upper board which has three gilt roundels designed by Charles Ricketts, top edge gilt; pp. [xii], 183, [i]; a near-fine, bright copy, just a few marks to buckram boards.
First Metheun edition, limited edition of 1,000 copies on handmade paper inscribed by Oscar Wilde's son Cyril Holland to Winifred Ker-Seymer.
By 1891 Wilde had already written three plays: Vera; or, The Nihilists and The Duchess of Padua had found little success, and Salome had been censored. Unperturbed, he decided to turn to comedy. The play was composed while on a visit to the Lake District. Numerous characters in the play appear to draw their names from the north of England, with the title of Lady Windermere from the nearby town and lake; the Duchess of Berwick from Berwick-upon-Tweed, and Lord Darlington from Darlington. At the insistence of both his manager Alexander and some of his closest friends, Wilde made changes to reveal Mrs Erylnne's relationship with Lady Windermere gradually throughout the play, rather than reserving the secret for the final act.
Cyril Holland was the older of the two sons of Oscar Wilde and Constance Lloyd and brother to Vyvyan Holland. After Wilde's very public trial, conviction in 1895, and imprisonment for gross indecency, his mother Constance chose to take the surname of Holland, and moved the children to Switzerland. Cyril died in the battle for Neuve-Chapelle in May 1915.