The Marble Arch, Final Project


The Marble Arch is a profound London landmark  designed by John Nash in 1827. It was originally designed to be the entrance to the cour d’honneur of Buckingham Palace. The arch was relocated however in 1851 by Thomas Cubitt to the North East corner of Hyde Park at Cumberland Gate.  The design of the arch was inspired by the Arch of Constantine in Rome and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in Paris. (The fact that the design was inspired by other countries’ works,  reminds me of Dorian Grey’s fascination with beauty and his collection of beautiful items, all from other parts of the world, like the design of the Arch.) This regal arch marked one of six entrances into Hyde Park, a Park where many nobility and important people of the Victorian Era went for downtime. Our beauty obsessed characters, Dorian and Henry, both enjoyed the Park as a place to watch beauty alive in front of them, and the arch marked the entrance and exit of the place they adored.

The Marble Arch then


The Marble Arch today

We see the Marble Arch for the first time in the novel in Chapter 5. Sybil and James Vane had just gone to Hyde Park for a walk. (Both had had to change to be presentable enough to be in the park.) They finished their walk and by the Marble Arch “they hailed an omnibus” to take them back to their “shabby home” 2 miles away on Euston Road. Here the arch can be seen as a symbol of change. As one enters the Park through the Arch they are in a beautiful world, full of beautiful people and the elite. As one exits the Park through the Arch they are back to the real London where they must go back to their own homes (possibly one that is too “shabby” to be near the Park itself.

The Marble Arch is mentioned in chapter 19 by Lord Henry when he is talking to Dorian. Henry had been walking through Hyde Park on a Sunday and noticed by the Marble Arch “a little crowd of shabby-looking people listening to some vulgar street-preacher.” As seen earlier in the novel, seeing shabby people in the park was very unlikely, so this would strike Lord Henry. He hears the preacher say “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Henry is asking Dorian to answer the question at first he then goes on to say how it “struck him”. He heard the question and thought it to be dramatic. He says that “London is very rich in curious effects of that kind” Henry paints us a picture of the preacher in a rain coat surrounded by “sickly white faces.” The dramatic phrase is thrown into the air as the beautiful arch looms over them.

marble arch

If we saw this scene through the eyes of Henry, we would see lower class Londoners huddled around a shrill preacher against the beautiful arch inspired by foreign pieces of beauty. We would hear the question of the preacher, almost in shock that such a question could come out of someone not as beautiful as the question itself. Henry is tempted to tell the preacher that “art had a soul but that man had not.” This line is crucial in the novel being an absolute allusion to Dorian’s painting that now has the soul of Dorian, taking on all of the pain and suffering that he has gone through.

When Henry asks Dorian this question that he heard about the Marble Arch, we see Dorian become suspicious that Lord Henry knows something about Dorian and the painting. This arch can represent a turning point in the relationship between Henry and Dorian at this point of the novel.














Blue Gate Fields (Final Project)

Blue Gate Fields in Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray becomes the pivotal moment in the novel where Dorian’s soul is eternally damned with corruption. The essence of Blue Gate Fields is located in an area deriving of low middle class, poverty stricken people, and vicious criminals as depicted in the Booth Poverty online archive. An area where Basil would color as a place that vile creatures lived, and it becomes an area in which Dorian yearns for. The descent into Blue Gate Fields begins in Chapter 11 where the narrator explains Dorian’s affliction with becoming a denizen of the decrepit East London location: “Then, suddenly, some night he would creep out of the house, go down to dreadful places near Blue Gate Fields, and stay there, day after day, until he was driven away” (Wilde). The use of the word “suddenly” becomes a defining characteristic of the nature of Dorian’s descent into West London and the corruption affiliated with the area. For a man defined as “pure” on the outside stalking about in the most wretched of places “suddenly” exposes the ways in which Dorian himself can slip versatilely between aristocracy and the criminal squatters of Blue Gate Fields on a whim.

cabel streetLater on in the novel we find that Dorian frequents Blue Gate Fields for its opium dens. In Chapter 16, the corruption of Dorian’s soul becomes exploited through the means of obtaining opium to blissfully ebb away the insidious sins that he had committed over the years: “There were opium dens where one could buy oblivion, dens of horror where the memory of old sins could be destroyed by the madness of sins that were new” (Wilde). The area surrounding Cable street (the real name of the notorious Blue Gate Fields) that Dorian frequents for its opium dens harbored many violent thefts, sexual offences, and cases of deception. The narrator describes the area in which Dorian runs around as “a dark lane. Over the low roofs and jagged chimney-stacks of the houses rose the black masts of ships. Wreaths of white mist clung like ghostly sails to the yards” (Wilde). Despite the fact that the harbor is relatively further away than Wilde depicts, the area near water is the defining characteristic that brings the opium den’s realistic nature to fruition.

Blue Gate Field’s location in the story also allows for the altercation between Dorian and James Vane to take place with the gun and the threat to Dorian’s life. The violent nature of Dorian’s sins and James’s intent of murdering Dorian to avenge his departed sister is consumed within the Eastern part of London as a way to condemn these two characters who are corrupted: one with vengeance, the other with insatiable desire for beauty and a painting that encapsulates it.


Works Cited:

“Booth Poverty Map & Modern Map (Charles Booth Online Archive).” Booth Poverty Map & Modern Map (Charles Booth Online Archive). N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

“The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)/Chapter 11 and 16.” – Wikisource, the Free Online Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

“The Proceedings of the Old Bailey.” Browse. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015

The Bristol (Final Project)

We see the Bristol very briefly in The Picture of Dorian Gray , but it’s purpose is to serve the transformation of Dorian into the easily manipulated young man that he is. In Chapter 6 of Oscar Wilde’s novel, the evening at the high-end hotel Bristol where Dorian, Lord Henry, and Basil talk about the marriage proposal between Dorian and Sybil: “Hallward was shown into a little private room at the Bristol where dinner had been laid for three” (Wilde). The motif exposed within this chapter surrounding beauty and sensibility that enamors Dorian. The dichotomy of the East versus the West in The Picture of Dorian Gray exposes the sinister hidden within the glamour of the posh and rich aesthetic of the West side of London in characters like Lord Henry, while later on in the novel, the East exposes the sinister side entering through Dorian and festering in the portrait. The manipulation from Lord Henry and the appeal of aestheticism begins Dorian’s journey into the evils of ugliness and the disgust of denying art.

From the map acquired from the Booth Poverty archive, the Brisol is located within Burlington Gardens. The red below exposes the upper middle class living that goes on in this area along with a select few of wealthy citizens of London in the area. This high class upbringing brings to life the reality in which Wilde’s characters experienced and gives a realistic appeal to his novel. The Bristol becomes a societal setting that encroaches and exposes the distaste and ugliness of the lower class.

burlington gardens

Within the sixth chapter, Basil expresses his contempt for the lower class: “‘I hope the girl is good, Harry. I don’t want to see Dorian tied to some vile creature, who might degrade his nature and ruin his intellect'” (Wilde). By painting Sybil as a “vile creature,” the reader is left to understand the distancing of social class. The upper class is considered human and much more, while the lower class is depicted as monstrous. This further exploits the way in which Dorian’s portrait and actions becomes horrendous and vile like that of a monster. The exact opposite is Sybil’s character. She is quite beautiful, naive, and infatuated with Dorian. Basil’s quote should be pointed at Dorian instead of poor Sybil Vane. While Sybil does not encompass the depiction that Basil paints of her, Dorian does quite literally through the portrait.

Even though the West side of London is filled with the rich patrons of the city, it is not devoid of crime. The Old Bailey claims to have documented various accounts of robbery and grand larceny within the area of Burlington Gardens. The act of evil deeds pour out across the area, as how Dorian’s evil acts of murder and manipulation proceed throughout the novel.


Works Cited:

“Booth Poverty Map & Modern Map (Charles Booth Online Archive).” Booth Poverty Map & Modern Map (Charles Booth Online Archive). N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

“The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)/Chapter 6.” – Wikisource, the Free Online Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

“The Proceedings of the Old Bailey.” Browse. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015

Selby Royal, Nottinghamshire – Dorian’s Country Home

Daniela Velez

Prof. Swafford

ENG 493-02

Final Project, Location: Selby Royal

“Are they true? Can they be true? When I first heard them, I laughed. I hear them now, and they make me shudder. What about your country-house and the life that is led there? Dorian, you don’t know what is said about you.”

-Basil Hallward to Dorian Gray in Chapter XI, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Nottinghamshire, Nottingham Castle 1900's
This is not Selby Royal (which is fictional) but Nottingham Castle in Nottinghamshire in the 1900s.


Nottinghamshire – being in the country, not in the city- is excluded from the Charles Booth Online Archive. There is not even a mention of Nottinghamshire in the index of subjects, places, people, and institutions mentioned in the survey. This mirrors the location’s importance in the story. While away in the countryside, the wealthy and the privileged elite are physically far away from the public’s scrutiny but they cannot completely escape it.

Nottinghamshire is far out of the area that Victorian Google Maps covers, but it is helpful to see how far away Nottinghamshire is from London.
Nottinghamshire is far out of the area that Victorian Google Maps covers, but it is helpful to see how far away Nottinghamshire is from London.

Although Basil hears rumors of Dorian’s “country-house and the life that is led there,” there is no evidence of the events that occur, besides Dorian’s somewhat tarnished reputation, which he cares little for. Selby Royal is foreshadowed by Basil’s interrogation of Dorian in the chapter preceding his violent murder and the convenient accidental death that takes place at Selby Royal after it. Before readers see or experience Dorian’s country home, it already has a negative connotation. When James Vane is killed this only solidifies Selby Royal as a location where Dorian lives with little regard to the consequences of his actions.

A week later Dorian Gray was sitting in the conservatory at Selby Royal, talking to the pretty Duchess of Monmouth, who with her husband, a jaded-looking man of sixty, was amongst his guests.

-Chapter XVII, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 7.07.22 PM

Accessed through the British History Online Archive, Robert Thoroton’s History of Nottinghamshire documents the parishes and churches in the area. Published in 1796, the source can be considered far removed from the time period in which The Picture of Dorian Gray takes place, but it is still useful in understanding the history the countryside would have been associated with in the minds of Victorian readers. A

majority of the images archived online feature in Thorton’s volumes are images of the numerous churches in Nottinghamshire. As we know from our study of the Victorian Era, religion and piety were of the utmost importance in society, but the images of these churches were captured prior to this time period which began in the early 1800s. As modern readers we can speculate whether or not the religious history of Nottinghamshire had some influence on Wilde’s decision to place Dorian’s fictional country manor there.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 7.10.03 PMA search of the Proceedings of the Old Bailey turns up only one crime that took place in Nottinghamshire, the theft of a horse. This may remind readers of Dorian Gray riding off on his mare to the stables to see the body of James Vane. Nottinghamshire does come up in other cases a total of twenty nine times but the area is usually mentioned in a positive light. For example, one ordinary’s testimony states “That he was born of good Parents, at Leeks in Nottinghamshire.” Therefore, we can conclude that Nottinghamshire would have been associated with a very peaceful and crime free, almost utopian, country parish. I would compare this to the way many residents of New York City view the Hudson Valley area. By setting up this country home as a topic of gossip and controversy, Wilde is undermining his Victorian audience’s perspective of the area. This gives the impression that danger, crime, and sin are not isolated to a location like the East End. In Wilde’s novel, Selby Royal is both the grand estate associated with the wealthy upper classes and a mansion of improprieties and sins that are implied and spoken about, but never directly addressed.

Works Cited

“Booth Poverty Map & Modern Map (Charles Booth Online Archive).” Booth Poverty Map & Modern  Map (Charles Booth Online Archive). N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

“The Proceedings of the Old Bailey.” Results: Nottinghamshire. Old Bailey Online, n.d. Web. 01 Dec.2015.

Robert Thoroton, ‘Plate 3: Views of several churches’, in Thoroton’s History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 1, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby, ed. John Throsby (Nottingham,       1790), p. 3 [accessed 1 December  2015].

Wilde, Oscar, and Camille Cauti. The Picture of Dorian Gray. New York: Barnes & Noble Classics,  2004. Print.

The Park (Hyde Park), Final Project





Hyde Park, one of the must see sites in London. Being one of the only places in London full of lush green as far as the eye can see it was a get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.


The Park was first meant to be a private hunting ground for Henry VIII. In 1637 the Park was opened to the public by Charles I. During the Victorian Era, the Park was a place of leisure for the “fashionable world”. You could be at leisure in Hyde Park but not for long. According to W.S. Gilbert, one was to be on their toes in the Park where there was action on every corner. He says, “in the inner mind you must be observant, prepared to enjoy either the solitude of the crowd, or to catch the quick glance, the silvery music of momentary merriment, then have a few seconds of rapid, acute dialogue, or perhaps be beckoned into a carriage by a friend with space to spare.” A time in the Park was a social gathering of the most fashionable in London, including Queen Victoria herself. She hated London but loved to be in the Park (R.D.Blumenfeld). Max Schlesinger says” By far more interesting, and indeed unrivalled, is Rotten-row, the long broad road for horsemen, where, on fine summer evenings, all the youth, beauty, celebrity, and wealth of London may be seen on horse-back.” Hyde Park was inhabited by the beautiful people of London and it was readily seen by all who went there.

hydepark poverty map
Hyde Park was surrounded by Upper Class, Upper Middle, and Middle Class


In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture Of Dorian Gray, the Park is talked about a few times. Lord Henry brings up the Park first in chapter three. Dorian begs the Lord to allow him to go with him as he wants to listen to him talk some more. Lord Henry responds:

“Ah! I have talked quite enough for to-day,” said Lord Henry, smiling. “All I want now is to look at life. You may come and look at it with me, if you care to.”

Readers of the Victorian era would make the connection to the active social area that was Hyde Park. Lord Henry, who had a view of life that fascinated Dorian Gray, wanted to observe the life that would inevitably be happening in the Park.

The Park is mentioned again in chapter four.Dorian is talking to Lord Henry again and mentions how the Lord has inspired Dorian to observe those in the Park, as he did in the chapter before. He also mentions the Park when he is talking about his new found love, an Actress named Sibyl Vane. He describes her as an extraordinary woman, different than those fashionable women who “ride in the park in the morning and chatter at tea-parties in the afternoon”. Lord Henry and Dorian believe that beauty is what one needs to strive for in life. The ever changing beauty of the actress night to night appeals to Dorian more than the fashionable and traditional women who socialize in Hyde Park.

The Park is mentioned another time in chapter five. Sibyl and her brother James are planning to go for walk. Sibyl suggests a walk in Hyde Park but James says “I am too shabby,” he answered, frowning. “Only swell people go to the park.” Hyde Park’s reputation and normal visitors would be known by the reader and this line would ring true to them. The line also lends itself to an overwhelming theme of the importance of beauty in the novel. It is important to multiple characters to look their best and to stay that way, including the park.

In chapter 11 the Park is brought up again. Basil had just been question Dorian about his morals and how much he has changed. He talks about a past liaison of Dorian’s named Lady Gwendolen. Lady Gwendolen was an upstanding citizen until Dorian. Now not ” a single decent woman in London now who would drive with her in the park” (chapter 11). Dorian has apparently influenced this woman so much that she would not be able to be in the upstanding place that is Hyde Park. Basil saying these words and with what we know about Hyde Park, we know that Lady Gwendolen must have changed in a way that made her unfashionable and not suitable for the Park.
Dorian is back in the Park in chapter 18. He has joined a shooting-party with some elites of London. As they were shooting a hare had run in front of them into a bush where Sir Geoffrey Clouston then decided to shoot. When the shot rang out there were two screams, the one of the hare and the other of a man. In the end of the chapter we find out the man is none other then James Vane. James Vane had been stalking Dorian to get revenge for his sister death.When the hare had run past and Geoffrey Clouston readied himself to shoot at it, Dorian tried to get Geoffrey to not shoot at it. He had appreciated the look of the hare and did not want that to be taken away. When Clouston thought that to be ridiculous and shot anyway we are reminded that Dorian’s appreciation for beauty is much different then many others in the story. Vane himself had mentioned earlier in the story that he was too “shabby” to be in the Park. In a way it’s as if the Park has taken an extreme measure to retain it’s beauty when the “shabby” Vane is shot and killed instantly. 
In chapter 19 Lord Henry brings up the Park again when speaking to Dorian. In the end of the chapter Dorian is obviously not himself and Henry invites him to lunch and a visit to the Park the next day. Dorian does not want to go and asks if he must. Henry comes back and says of course he must, because “the Park is quite lovely this time of year” (chapter 19). Instead of saying something perhaps about spending time together or meeting with old friends it’s about seeing the beauty in the park because that is the only reason Henry wants to be there, to take in the natural beauty of the Park. 
The Park meant a lot to Dorian and Lord Henry alike. Mostly because the beauty that was there. Not only was the park naturally full of beautiful sights but only the beautiful people of London were there and both of our beauty obsessed characters knew that. They spent their time there to appreciate as much beauty as they could within England. 


Work Cited

Blumenfeld, R.D.B. “Diary: June 27, 1887”. Victorian London. Lee Jackson. Web. 17 December 2015.