Lord Henry "Harry" Wotton is the main antagonist of the 1891 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray as well as its various adaptations.
He was portrayed by George Sanders in the 1945 film adaptation, and Colin Firth in the 2009 film, who also portrayed Geoffery Thwaites in St. Trinians, Bill Haydon in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and William Weatherall Wilkins in Mary Poppins Returns.
Lord Wotton was a young and pompous aristocrat who had many friends and lovers across the country, not all of whom tolerated the man as he corrupted almost all of them into being as cruel as he however there was one exception to this rule, Basil Hallward a good natured and truly incorruptible man even by Henry's ability. One day Hallward was discussing with Wotton on his newest work, a portrait of a young man of the name Dorian Gray and he spoke of the immense beauty he saw within him and a such the prime candidate for his efforts on work. This sparked an interest in the young man from Wotton who requested to meet him.
Upon meeting Dorian Wotton immediately decided he would be a prime candidate for his next corruptible friend and as such filled the young man's head with insecurities regarding his youth and beauty. This was only furthered when Dorian's portrait was completed which cemented the thoughts in Dorian's head to maintain his youth by any means necessary.
It is soon following this when Dorian introduces his two friends to that of Sybil Vane a small-time actress and Dorian's girlfriend. After seeing a performance from her however Wotton scolds Dorian and accuses him of only being interested in her for superficial reasons. In response Dorian cruelly dumps Sybil unknowingly creating disastrous consequences for himself in the future. It is here in which Wotton continues to push and push Dorian in terms of his teachings of how to be the perfect aristocrat to the point of near insanity for the young man.
Years later sees Henry having aged poorly and being rather decrepit and appeared to be rather bitter and resentful over Dorian and his retained youthfulness before Dorian soon informed him that he was changing his lifestyle. He also became much more cynical and frustrated in this time especially following the divorce to his wife Victoria and seeing Dorian still succeed in his romantic affairs with that of the young Hetty Merton.
Soon enough however Dorian committed suicide in an effort to erase all records of his crimes and corruption from the world, partly prompted by the recent scare for the vengeful brother of Sybil, James. While Henry did find out about this his reaction is completely uncaring and arguably one of glee towards his former subject's demise.
Wotton is a hedonistic, manipulative aristocrat who takes interest in the young Dorian Gray of whom he winds up corrupting and halfway morphing into the vain man he would soon become. Wotton was a very corrupt man himself and acted as a mentor of sorts to Dorian and probably saw him as a way to make a profit for himself, however he winded up forming a decent friendship with Dorian and even got to see his portrait after its completion.
- His character is based on Lord Ronald Gower a friend of the author Oscar Wilde.
- Wilde also based Henry around what he thought the world viewed of himself.