The portrait will be part of the Queer British Art exhibition , opening next year.

A portrait of Oscar Wilde once owned by the writer is going on display for the first time in the UK.

The full length portrait, painted by Robert Goodloe Harper Pennington, will feature as part of Queer British Art 1861-1967, an exhibition marking 50 years since the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales.

Also on display will be the prison cell door that Wilde was kept behind in Reading Gaol.

Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson said the painting showed Wilde “on the verge of success”.

“It’s an extraordinary image of Wilde on the brink of fame, before imprisonment destroyed his health and reputation,” he said.

“Viewing it next to the door of his jail cell will be a powerful experience that captures the triumph and tragedy of his career.”

In April 1895, the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, or Bosie, accused Wilde of “posing as a sodomite”.

Behind his cell door Wilde wrote De Profundis, his extended letter to Bosie which is considered one of the greatest letters in the English language.

Time spent in his cell also inspired The Ballad of Reading Gaol, which he wrote while in exile in France.

The exhibition is curated by Clare Barlow  who said:”The 6ft oil painting depicts him as a slender 27-year-old on the cusp of success.

“His stance is confident, holding a pair of gloves in one hand while the other clasps a silver-topped cane.

“It presents a different, more sombre image to the one we are more familiar with.”

Oscar Wilde
The portrait of Oscar Wilde use to hang in his Chelsea home (Tate/PA)

The exhibition will run from 5 April to 1 October 2017 at Tate Britain.

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