Some things are more precious because they don’t last long.

Summary – Dorian sells his soul so that his portrait can age in his place, but his quest for sensual experience leads to inner corruption.

The Perfect Drink – We’ve noticed that Wilde often endows his most beautiful characters with violet eyes – in The Picture of Dorian Gray, the captivating actress Sibyl Vane has eyes like ‘violet wells of passion’. Violet tea would in fact work well with the novel – Mary had some recently in Lovecrumbs, a cosy Edinburgh cafe. It’s a strong Chinese black tea packed with violet petals, and its intensely sweet perfume is well suited to the decadence of Wilde’s novel. The flower petals, which release their taste and scent long after they’ve been picked, are a perfect match for Dorian’s artificially extended existence.

The Perfect Snack – Sweets that preserve a perishable ingredient in sugar or a liqueur would work particularly well here! You’re looking for food that’s frivolous, pretty, and a little oversweet. We recommend sugared almonds in pastel pinks and blues, chocolate cherries with their burst of bitter cordial, or rings of candied fruit in bright citrus colours, crystalline with sugar. Your choices should be decorative and sweet rather than wholesome or sustaining, just like the life Dorian chooses for himself.

The Perfect Place – For us, this novel is best read in a cool and shady room, looking out onto a hot summer’s day. The contrast between coolness and heat, beauty and shade will remind you of Dorian, who is held somewhere between life and death.

How would you read The Picture of Dorian Gray? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.