Vyvyan Holland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Vyvyan Holland
Vyvyan Holland.jpg
BornVyvyan Oscar Beresford Wilde
(1886-11-03)3 November 1886
London, United Kingdom
Died10 October 1967(1967-10-10) (aged 80)
London, United Kingdom
OccupationAuthor, translator
Spouse(s)Violet Craigie (m. 1913)
Dorothy Thelma Helen Besant (m. 1943)
ChildrenMerlin Holland
Parent(s)Oscar Wilde
Constance Lloyd

Vyvyan Holland, OBE (3 November 1886 – 10 October 1967), born Vyvyan Oscar Beresford Wilde in London, was a British author and translator. He was the second son of Oscar Wilde and Constance Lloyd, after his brother Cyril.


Vyvyan Wilde in 1891 aged 5

According to Vyvyan Holland's accounts in his autobiography, Son of Oscar Wilde, Oscar was a devoted and loving father to his two sons and their childhood was a relatively happy one.[1] After 1895, when Wilde was convicted of the charge of "gross indecency" and imprisoned, Constance changed her surname, and those of their sons, to Holland.[2] She took the boys to Switzerland and then enrolled them in an English-speaking school in Germany. Vyvyan was unhappy there. Because of this, but also to improve security, Vyvyan was moved to a Jesuit school in Monaco. He converted to Catholicism there and subsequently attended Stonyhurst College, also run by Jesuits. However, his brother Cyril remained at the school in Germany.[3] After Constance's death in 1898 her relatives sought legal counsel to prevent Oscar Wilde from seeing his sons again.

Vyvyan studied law at Trinity Hall in the University of Cambridge from 1905, but tired of his studies and left Cambridge in 1907.[4] On 20 July 1909 he accompanied his father's friend Robert Ross to witness the reburial of his father's remains from Bagneux Cemetery to Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Holland resumed his study of law at the age of 22, and was called to the Bar of England and Wales by the Inner Temple in 1912. He then began to write poems and short stories.[5]

Holland's first wife was Violet Craigie, whom he married in 1913; she died of injuries in a fire before 1918.[6] At the start of the First World War in 1914 he was first commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Interpreters Corps, but later transferred into 114 Battery, XXV Bde Royal Field Artillery. He was demobilised on 27 July 1919 and was awarded an OBE. His brother Cyril had been killed by a German sniper on 9 May 1915, during the Battle of Festubert.

Holland went on to become an author and translator. At the beginning of the Second World War he was offered a position as a translator and editor for the BBC, a post he held for six years. In September 1943 he married his second wife, Dorothy Thelma Helen Besant.[7]

In 1947 he and Thelma left for Australia and New Zealand, where Mrs Holland had been invited to give lectures on fashionable dress in 19th-century Australia.[5] The couple lived in Melbourne from 1948 to 1952.

Their only child, Merlin Holland, became a publisher, a dealer in glass and ceramics, and a writer who edited and published several works about his grandfather.

Vyvyan Holland died in London in 1967 aged 80.


  1. ^ "A Life of Concealment". Time Magazine. 27 September 1954. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
  2. ^ "GREAT BRITAIN: A Life of Concealment". TIME.com. 27 September 1954. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  3. ^ "biographies : Oscar Wilde children Wilde children Vyvyan Wilde, Vivian Holland Cyril Wilde Cyril Holland". histclo.com. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Books: Happy Man". Time. 15 July 1946. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
  5. ^ a b "Let's talk about". mr-oscar-wilde.de. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  6. ^ Findlay, Jean (Mar 10, 2015). Chasing Lost Time: The Life of C. K. Scott Moncrieff: Soldier, Spy, and Translator. Macmillan. p. 125.
  7. ^ "Obituary of Thelma Holland". findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19950309/ai_n13970230. Retrieved 2008-06-23.[dead link]


  • The Mediaeval Courts of Love (1927) privately printed book
  • On the Subject of Bores (1935) privately printed book
  • Son of Oscar Wilde (1954), memoir, E P Dutton & Co, 1954.
  • Oscar Wilde and his world (1960)
  • Oscar Wilde – a pictorial biography (1960)
  • Time Remembered After Pere Lachaise (1966) a continuation of his memoirs

External links[edit]