The English poet JOHN GRAY was born on this date (d.1934).  His works include Silverpoints, The Long Road and Park: A Fantastic Story. Purported to be the inspiration behind the title character in Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Gray distanced himself from this. His relationship with Wilde was initially intense, but had cooled for over two years by the time of Wilde’s imprisonment.

Like many of the artists of that period, Gray was a convert to Roman Catholicism in the late ’90s. He left his position at the Foreign Office and studied for the priesthood at the Scots College, Rome and later became a priest at Saint Patrick’s and a rector at Saint Peter’s in Edinburgh.

His most important supporter, and life partner, was the wealthy poet and early defender of homosexuality, Marc-André Raffalovich. He continued to write poetry of a high caliber for the rest of his life; later works were mainly devotional and often dealt with various Christian saints. His collected poems, with extensive notes, were printed in a 1988 edition edited by English professor and nineties expert Ian Fletcher.