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?
‘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.
‘You’re nothing but a pack of cards!’ Arthur Rackham. One of my favourite illustrators, always instantly recognisable and unique.
‘Sentence first, verdict afterwards.’ Willy Pogany. A surprise this one, I had never seen Alice in such an obviously different period costume before.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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
‘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.