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Robert Baldwin Ross

Robert Baldwin Ross (1869-1918) was a man of many talents, responsible for bringing together several great literary figures and acting as their mentor. An art expert, he was born in Canada, his father being the attorney-general of Upper Canada, and came to Britain at an early age. While working as a journalist and critic, he is alleged to have been Oscar Wilde's first homosexual lover, and remained loyal to Wilde through thick and thin, eventually becoming his literary executor. Following the writer's disgrace and imprisonment, Ross went abroad for safety's sake, but returned to offer support, both financial and emotional, to Wilde. In 1908, some years after Wilde's death, Ross produced the definitive edition of his works.

As a result of his faithfulness to Wilde even in death, Ross was vindictively pursued by Lord Alfred Douglas, but survived the attacks. During the First World War, he drew around him a coterie of young artists, mostly homosexuals, including Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. He was preparing to travel abroad again when he died suddenly in 1918, an event which caused great grief to his many friends.

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