The art of Alice through the looking glass

Sir John Tenniel

 

I love the illustrations of Alice in Wonderland and Alice’s adventures through the looking Glass.  The original Tenniel ones have a charm all of their own and are the ones I remember the most from childhood.  There is  such a lot of information contained in these small drawings and Sir John Tenniel’s style once seen, is unmistakable.

Alice entering the looking glass world by Sir John Tenniel

Tenniel also illustrated for Punch magazine for a  while and did some political sketches like the example below. Amazingly this fine illustrator was blind in one eye. 

Punch magazine william gladstone and the irish land question

But another illustrator that I quite like is Ralph Steadman.  Of course these two  are from different era’s, but I quite like the clear lines of Steadman’s work, it’s so very stylish.   He has tried to add something new to these well-loved characters – yet make them still recognisable.

Ralph Steadman 1972

But there is another Alice illustrator that I like – one of my favorite authors and who I am re reading at the moment, and that’s Mervyn Peake.  It’s interesting to see the different styles of these artists, each done in a different era but with totally original approaches towards the same subject

Mervyn Peake 1954

Ralph Steadman’s website HERE

Other Alice illustrator’s HERE

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6 Responses to “The art of Alice through the looking glass”

  1. Peake’s illustrations for the Alice books are currently on show (along with about 150 other original drawings by Peake) at the Maison d’Ailleurs in Yverdon, Switzerland – ending 14th February. And as they have just been acquired by the British Library, they may not be so visible for a long time to come.

  2. Thanks Peter, I wish I could get there! What a fabulous exhibition that must be! I reallty admire his drawings. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Wonderful post! I long for those illustrated books I used to read. Sometimes I felt like I was reading from illustration to illustration. When Stephen King wrote “The Green Mile” and it came out in segments, there was a drawing in each one. I thought that was so cool. Do you have your art set up on another blog, yet?

  4. Yes fabulous illustrations – all explaination is in those lines, what talent. I have the Ralph Steadman Alice through the Looking Glass book, someone gave me it in the 70s. My hubby thinks that Kings goes on too much before he gets to the story. But I disagree, he is painting the scene so discriptively (e.g the Shining) that you are actually immersed in that lonely hotel. Then when he has got you exactly where he wants you, he lets the horror start – drip drip drip at a time lol! That takes some doing. Yes I’m setting my art blog up at the moment, splitting it into galleries. Taking my time with it though. It will be just my work, all the other stuff like the birthdays, design ect will stay on here. Hope you visit Leslie!

  5. I’m usually disappointed when I come across copies of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass that do not have Tenniel’s illustrations. His illustrations are permanently cemented in my mind as part of Carroll’s complete vision (even though they are likely not as tightly knit as I imagine them to be.) There are some editions with interesting takes, though. Taking a children’s literature course (coupled with a modest background in art history) has softened me to newer takes on the story.

    I suppose it’s the Disney-fied versions that have seeped into the collective conscious of Alice fans that prevents me from looking to anyone but Tenniel. When anyone demand the Cheshire cat be purple, I cannot help but cringe.

  6. Hi, I know exactly what you mean about the Disney depictions. It is sad that generations will only know these (unless they have an interest in illustration). But I daresay that the Disney images shall be as emotive to them as the old Tenneil and more contemporary ones are to others (me included). Tenneil’s bottle with ‘Drink’ on: the mad hatters tea party – you just have to look at their faces to see what their characters are like at that party. Tenniel has so obviously empathised with Carrol’s narrative – you can almost imagine what these characters actually sound like!
    Glad you visited – Thanks for contributing!

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