Bouquet at Haslams for Oscar Wilde

I popped along to Haslams in Friar Street at lunchtime to check out the Reading artists’ celebration of Oscar Wilde’s birthday on 16 October.

What an incredible sight. It is like a multi-tiered wedding cake as tall as Oscar himself, garnished with elaborate lilies made from recycled objects and other materials, decorated with Wildean quotes.

I could not help but notice the ivory coloured lily created by Katesgrove artist and Whitley Pump regular, Huma Jehan. It had the most wonderful hand written script with quotes from the Happy Prince and the Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Reading Museum in collaboration with Jelly, Reading Guild of Artists, Two Rivers Press, Whiteknights Studio Trail and award winning florist Marc Allridge of Cherubs Floral Design, have definitely created a bouquet of positive uniqueness mixed with love.

In the setting of a modern go-getting snazzy estate agents it looks beautifully incongruous, witty and a bit mad. Oscar would have loved it – go and have a look.

Just over a month after his birthday on the 20th November 1895, Wilde was forced to stand on the middle platform 9 at Clapham Junction in public on his way to Reading Prison. Handcuffed and in prison clothes he was jostled and spat at by a jeering mob. For every year on that date until his death, Wilde cried for an hour. I think we owe Oscar at the very least a lovely bouquet and our observance of his birthday and memory in Reading.

Matthew Farrall, the author of this article, died on 20 April 2018.
We are grateful to his family for allowing us to continue to display his work online.


  1. Haslams
  2. Lilies for Oscar Wilde
  3. No hard lines with Huma Jehan
  4. Reading Museum
  5. Jelly
  6. Reading Guild of Artists
  7. Whiteknights Studio Trail
  8. Two Rivers Press
  9. Cherubs Floral Design
  10. Oscar Wilde Society

4 thoughts on “Bouquet at Haslams for Oscar Wilde

  1. Pingback: You can bid for an Oscar Wilde Lily | The Whitley Pump

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