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Ada Leverson (née Beddington) Biography

(1862–1933), (née Beddington), Punch, habitués, The Yellow Book, Love's Shadow, Tenterhooks

published wilde love memoir

British novelist, born in London. Through her contributions to Punch and other periodicals, she came to the notice of Oscar Wilde, who named her ‘Sphinx’ and declared her the wittiest woman in the world. Aubrey Beardsley, Walter Sickert, John Singer Sargent, Mrs Patrick Campbell, and Max Beerbohm were all habitués of her salon. In the 1890s she published two stories in The Yellow Book. At the time of Wilde's trial in 1895, the Leversons distinguished themselves by sheltering him in their son's nursery. She published six elegant comedies of 1890s' society including Love's Shadow (1908), Tenterhooks (1912), and Love at Second Sight (1916). They were published in one volume in 1962 as The Little Ottleys with a foreword by Colin MacInnes. Her later years were spent in the company of Harold Acton, William Walton, and the Sitwells. She wrote a memoir of Wilde, The Last First Night in the Criterion (1926); her daughter, Violet Wyndham, in turn wrote a memoir of her, The Sphinx and Her Circle (1963).

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