Looking in Wonderland: Sir John Tenniel’s illustrations to the Alice Books
January 19 @ 10:00 am - April 22 @ 3:30 pmFree
Surely some of the best loved illustrations in the world!
The exhibition is a selection of the best of Sir John Tenniel’s illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s two Alice books – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there (1872) John Tenniel spent all of his life in London where he worked as a political cartoonist for Punch magazine, but in 1864 he was approached by Lewis Carroll (an Oxford mathematics don whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) with the request to illustrate a small nonsense book for children he wished to publish.
The initial story had been made up by Dodgson for the daughters of the Dean of Christ Church College during a boating trip on 4 July 1862, and at the request of one of them, Alice Liddell, he wrote out the story of the little girl who dreamt (or did she ?) that she went down a rabbit hole into Wonderland where she met an amazing set of characters – the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the King and Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle, the Cheshire Cat – and found herself in some awfully weird situations.
The story – published as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – was an instant hit with children and adults alike – as was the sequel Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there published seven years later. From the very start it was agreed that a major part of their success was due to the unique and imaginative illustrations supplied to the text by John Tenniel and despite there now being over one hundred artists who have illustrated Alice, Tenniel’s illustrations remain the definitive ones.
This exhibition is a selection of the best illustrations from both books (about half of the complete number) in which the creative genius of both Carroll and Tenniel is shown at its best. The original drawings were made on wooden blocks and then engraved by commercial engravers in London and the prints on show – printed directly from the original wood blocks – are perfect examples of the skill of both illustrator and engraver.
This exhibition is complemented by a small selection of handmade Alice in Wonderland costumes, on loan from the Newton Stewart Players, from their annual pantomime.
Gallery: The Mitchell Gallery, Second Floor