No good fish goes anywhere without a porpoise.

Cover of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderlan...
Mervyn Peake’s ‘seductive’ Alice

Today, I wanted to post a selection of Alices as dreamed up by various illustrators. Some are familiar, some I’d never seen before, but all are decidedly lovely.

Famous for its ‘nonsense’ play on words and the shifting, dream-like plot Alice has become a classic, inspiring numerous films, live productions and even comic book adaptations. According to Wikipedia, Alice’s Adventures has been translated into 125 languages, reaching countless readers and inspiring a number of sequels from writers keen to keep the spirit of ‘Alice’ alive. Since 1907 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been illustrated by over 150 different illustrators, including artists as varied as Mabel Lucie Attwell (1910), Mervyn Peake (1946), Ralph Steadman (1967), and even Salvador Dali (1969).

Some of the illustrations are beautiful, some strange, depending on the individual artist and what Alice meant to them. In this selection I’ve chosen my favourites but maybe you would choose something quite different for yours?

A_E_ Jackson

‘I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir’ said Alice, ‘because I’m not myself, you see.’ A. E. Jackson, famous for his illustrations of Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver’s Travels, The Water Babies, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, mostly between 1910 and 1920.

arthur rackham

You’re nothing but a pack of cards!’  Arthur Rackham. One of my favourite illustrators, always instantly recognisable and unique.

Willy Pogany

‘Sentence first, verdict afterwards.’ Willy Pogany. A surprise this one, I had never seen Alice in such an obviously different period costume before.

Bessie Pease Gutmann

‘Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!’ Bessie Pease Gutmann. This Alice from 1907. During the early 1900s Gutmann was one of the best-known magazine and book illustrators in the United States.

Harry Furniss

‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’ Harry Furniss. Furniss worked on a number of projects with Lewis Carroll, though he found Carroll much too controlling and would pretend to be out when he called. I hope to be adding some more of his artwork here soon.

jessie willcox smith

‘Why is a raven like a writing-desk?’ Jessie Willcox Smith. Born in Philadelphia in 1863, apparently Smith was originally a teacher before accidentally discovering her gift for drawing aged 20.

mabel lucie attwell

‘So many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.‘ Mabel Lucie Attwell. A British illustrator known for her sweet and nostalgic paintings of children, which she based on her daughter, Peggy

puffin chris riddell

‘I think you might do something better with the time,’ she said, ‘than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.’ Chris Riddell. Sadly there is only a cover illustration from Chris. I would love to see his take on wonderland!

So that’s a small selection of the many ‘faces’ of Alice. Who is your favourite Alice illustrator? Tell us about the illustrations you love best and why you love them.

Published by Jill London

Hi, I’m Jill, a writer and teacher living in the UK, usually behind a desk but sometimes on a sofa with a book or a film. I began writing at around age three, legibly by five, although I didn’t write any stories until I was older. Aged eleven, I began writing children’s fiction, mostly middle-grade fantasy and I’m still doing it to this day. I have had stories published online and in My Weekly magazine. The best bit about writing is when ideas pop into your head (from the writing fairy presumably?) and everything starts clipping together like a jigsaw puzzle. The worst bit? When you start to get the feeling there's a piece missing from the box...

14 thoughts on “No good fish goes anywhere without a porpoise.

  1. I had no idea there were so many Alices! They are all lovely. I will show my literary ignorance here and say that for me Alice has always been immortalised by Disney!


  2. The Tenniel illustrations are so powerfully associated with Alice that it is must have been difficult for the other illustrators who followed. But the ones that you’ve featured here all did splendidly. I have a copy of the Mervyn Peake book and like his Alice very much. Peake also worked on a gorgeous edition of Grimm’s “Household Tales” which is well worth seeking out, if you don’t have it already.


    1. Yes, I thought the Tenniel effect might make these illustrations something of a revelation.
      I hadn’t seen that edition of ‘Household Tales’ before but a quick google brought up some wonderful illustrations that definitely warrant a closer look. Thanks for the suggestion. As I mentioned before I love to find avenues to investigate.


    1. Barbara, the link works just fine, and my goodness what a treat! Now that’s a proper selection of Alice images! I’m not on Pinterest (I think I’d miss the words too much) but I have seen some wonderful collections on there when I’ve been searching for illustrations. Of the many beautiful collections you have I really enjoyed the Vintage Ladybird – it does so bring back memories – and the Red Riding Hood images, which capture the immediate danger that hangs over all the early fairy-tales very well.
      I shouldn’t ever be surprised by you, Barbara, but suffice it to say I now have an amazing haul of images to comb through. Thank-you for sharing that link, and thanks, as always, for dropping by (It’s always a pleasure).


    1. The Youtube link didn’t work unfortunately but the Wikipedia entry is very interesting – I hadn’t seen this before.
      You have an unusual blog there. I’ll be checking back regularly.


      1. hehehe..nice to hear that dear as you can read it whenever you have time and whatever sections you are interested in…but I think I know what you mean..its like life so much to do but less time at times…


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