Sunday 15 March 2009

Visions of Wonderland

The incredibly keen-eyed among you may have noticed that I've recently been building up a Places of Beauty section in my link list way down in the left column (yes, for IE users that will be somewhere riiiiiight down the bottom, touching the carpet). It started because I wanted to include Persephone Books website, but has morphed into a nebulous collection of websites which I think are beautiful, or are about beautiful places. That includes the artist I blogged about recently, Nicholas Hely Hutchinson (5 of his cards on the way to me, from this online shop), a wonderful illustrator called Alice Tait, the beautiful Arts & Craft house Blackwell in the Lake District and my own dear Magdalen. Any suggestions, especially for artists' and illustrators' websites, are welcome.

Today, however, I wanted to draw your attention to Lauren Harman's website of Alice's Adventure in Wonderland illustrations. Harman is a talented artist herself, but the website is a collection of all the illustrations she could find of the Alice books, from first publication to one which isn't even published yet. Think Alice illustrations begin and end with Tenniel and Rackham? Think again!

Now, I think Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Throught The Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There are works of genius, and I don't use the term lightly. In fact, I'd only (in my very humble opinion) unhesitatingly use the attribute of Shakespeare, Woolf and Lewis Carroll.
(Please, no sidetracks into whether or not Carroll's motives were suspect...) BUT, even if - like Our Vicar's Wife - you don't like the Alice books, this assortment of illustrations is a truly wonderful resource artistically, or just to see how differently artists have interpreted the books.

And there are some surprising names - Lewis Carroll himself, even Salvador Dali (see immediately below). Stuck-in-a-Book favourite Tove Jansson isn't mentioned on Lauren's website, but her Alice illustrations can be seen elsewhere, here. (By the way, for each picture in this blog post, click on it to be taken to the corresponding page on Lauren's site, for a bit of artist information etc.)

Do go and have a look at the Alice illustrations, a few of which I've put in this post - I tried to contact Lauren, but if she'd like me to remove them, I will do so. From the simple designs of Roberta Paflin to the sweet depiction from Bessie Pease Gutmann, I also recommend AA Nash, Mabel Lucie Attwell, Anthony Brown and Henry Morrin. A wonderful resource, and making me want to go and read the Alice books all over again.

Any favourites - from this selection or from the website?
And what are your thoughts on Alice?
Favourite book or all a bit too silly?


  1. THANK YOU, Simon -- I adore the Alice Tait drawings and illustrations. I am pondering placing an order right now....

  2. Simon -- what a great idea for a separate section to your blog. I enjoyed these illustrations, and I know I'm going to really like checking out your places of beauty.

  3. I love Lauren's site and you've done a great job of showcasing it! What a fabulous variety.

  4. Oh bother - now I've popped back over to Nicholas Hely Hutchinson's website and seen that he has new pictures for sale. I want!

  5. Simon - I love Alice in Wonderland but prefer through the Looking Glass. I have an edition with the original Tenniel illustrations but loved looking at all of these. I find illustrators to children's books fascinating and have a category of such on Random. If you click on it you will come up with one of my favourite of all time - Arthur Rackham and I believe he did Alice too.

  6. You didn't mention Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit! Go ask Alice ...

  7. These pictures are wonderful. I am ashamed to admit that I have never read the Alice books, is it something I should rectify?

  8. Immediately, Simon!
    They won't take long - and I predict you'll either love them instantly or find them unbearable. I do hope it's the former!

  9. What a great website! Could (and probably will) spend hours on it! I love the Eriksson illustrations.

    I grew up with the Disneyfied 'Alice', and came to the books quite late - but I'm so glad I did. I actually love the TV adaptation of 'Looking Glass' (my favourite of the two books) with Kate Beckinsale as Alice, as it's so true to the text.


  10. i believe i am lucky enough to have seen the arthur rackham alice in the flesh, its pretty ace!


  11. These are lovely. I love Alice and what a great site of pictures. Thanks.

  12. Lovely sampler of illos! There's another good AIW site here:

    In addition, on my own Snark-related blog:
    there is a somewhat comprehensive list of Carroll-related links, with an additional emphasis on some excellent sites for Snark fans!

    Good luck with your studies and keep reading voraciously!

  13. I have a wonderful family 'urban myth' that proved to be true. My GG Grandfather was John Proctor, well known in his day for illustrating books and for political cartoons in 'Judy' and 'Moonshine' (Punch's opposition). Lewis Carroll was a fan and asked him to illustrate 'Through the looking Glass' instead of Tennial. He turned it down as he was too busy...

    This wqs referenced in the recent graphic novel 'Alice in Sunderland' by Bryan Talbot, a must for all Alice fans


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