At eighteen, the handsome Dorian Gray has his portrait painted, which prompts an admirer, Lord Henry Wotton, to declare that life is thing without beauty and sensuous gratification. Suddenly scared of growing old and ugly, Dorian makes the fateful wish that the painted image should age rather than himself. Then - fearless of the consequences - he launches on a life of excess and depravity. Wilde's cautionary tale, published in 1891, describes how every sin that Dorian commits is reflected in the portrait. The painting is banished to his attic, where the image finally becomes so loathsome that Dorian tries to destroy it.