London: Leonard Smithers, 1898. Hardcover. 8vo (8.8 in, 22.4 cm). viii, 1-31 on every recto [3 blanks] pp. C. & p. For the first edition, 800 copies were printed on handmade paper and 30 copies on Japanese vellum. Of these, 800 handmade paper copies plus 20 Japanese vellum copies sold out in a few days. Printed at the Chiswick Press; no printer's imprint.
First edition: Brilliant Irish dramatist and wit, Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was convicted of gross indecency and given the maximum sentence of two years' hard labor. Wilde was declared bankrupt while in prison. The following year he published The Ballad of Reading Gaol by C.3.3. to refer to prison cell 3 on the third landing of gallery C.
CBEL. OCEL. Mason 371. Vellum spine lettered in gilt over mustard-yellow cloth. All edges deckle. Dutch handmade paper watermarked "Van Gelder." Pastedown with armorial bookplate and first free endpaper with brief bookseller's imprint in blind. Vellum somewhat sunned, covers slightly soiled with minor cockles, endpapers plus reverse show paste action, deckle edges age-toned. Well-preserved, tight, and clean first edition. Very good+. Item #1085