The famous Cleveland Street scandal, which involved the discovery of a homosexual male brothel by London police, began in July
1889. Sex between men was illegal; clients faced persecution and social exclusion if found out.
Arthur Conan Doylemet Oscar Wilde at a publisher’s dinner in August 1889, during the height of the Cleveland Street scandal. Conan Doyle liked Wilde; afterwards he called it “a golden evening.”
The Sign of Four appeared in print in February 1890. In the story, John Watson, previously a bachelor, is presented with a potential (and eventual) wife.
The Picture of Dorian Gray was published in July 1890; the original version contained a reference to the Cleveland Street scandal. The novel was later used against Wilde at his trials for the text’s allusions to homoeroticism.