Mentioning every Carroll-related item that comes up for auction would be impossible, and not the good do-it-before-breakfast kind of impossible either. Nevertheless, here’s a couple of lots coming up at the end of this month that seem worth a mention.
Christie's Sale 5475, Lot #212
On November 30, Christie’s in London will be auctioning a number of books and pamphlets. Lot #212 (pictured left) is a uniformly bound set containing the first published edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (the true first edition was recalled by Carroll due its unsatisfactory reproduction of Tenniel’s illustrations) and a first edition of Through the Looking-Glass. Sale 5476 also features Algebraical Formulae and Rules for the use of candidates for responsions (Lot #214), never mentioned in the author’s diary, but possibly an expanded version of Algebraical Formulae for Responsions.
The following day, on the other side of the world, the Leonard Joel auction house in Sydney, Australia, will be auctioning a facsimile of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (Lot #294), signed by the author and dated November 15, 1895. The lot also includes two letters to Olive Gould and one to Mrs Gould and, intriguingly, “part of a poem on bats.”
A photo of the poem is below. With a bit of squinting I can read that it begins “She gave it both some bread [and?] milk / and felt its furry wings / which were as soft as softest silk / and said all sorts of things,” but I can’t make out much of the rest. If you can decipher it, please leave a transcription in the comments! Click on the photo to see a larger image.
Part of a poem on bats. Leonard Joel Lot #294
I’m slightly daunted by the fact this Cheshire Cat pumpkin stencil is only rated “3/5 Intermediate” by Ultimate Pumpkin Stencils. Look at all those teeth! Upping the ante, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter stencils (fair likenesses of Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp respectively) are rated “4/5 Challenging.” (Advanced pumpkin carvers seeking the giddy heights of ”5/5 Ultimate” may have to turn to either a stencil of Conan the Barbarian lunging with sword, or Mr T point straight at you, as if to say “I want you to pity the fool”.)
A single stencil can be downloaded for $4.95 or you can purchase the full Alice in Wonderland trio for $9.95.
I have a feeling that LCSNA members might not need inspiration either from Tim Burton or from pre-cut stencils in carving their Alice-themed jack-o’-lanterns. Please send us your pictures of any Carrollian cucurbita creations, and we will delight in honoring them on this blog. Tenniel jack-o’-lanterns will receive an automatic “5/5 Ultimate” rating. Any individual who attempts a Jan Svankmajer jack-o’-lantern will be crowned Jack the Pumpkin King without contest.
Embossed Collector Tin by Prospero Art
A new tin and things to keep within from Prospero Art. This “first edition” tin is sold as a package with either a 150-piece jigsaw featuring the lid design, or two packs of Alice in Wonderland playing cards, or both. The tin is a limited edition (3,000 made) and measures 5 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/8 inches. More images, ordering information and a 2.25-minute video introduction to the tin can be found at ProsperoArt.com!
Cirque du Wonderland by Cart Before The Horse
Cirque du Wonderland was created by Dylan & Jo, a mom-and-pop artistic collaboration collectively known as Cart Before The Horse. Details of the work, which was a commission, can be seen on Jo’s blog. Other Alice in Wonderland creations which are for sale can be browsed on the Cart Before The Horse website, including this rather fetching Cheshire Cat.
Cheshire Cat by Cart Before The Horse
Hallowe’en is only three months away and scrapbook and paper crafting company Graphic 45 is ready with a new “Hallowe’en in Wonderland” paper collection. The illustrations are Tenniel “spookified” – Alice wear’s a witch’s hat, the Mad Hatter’s tie has pumpkins on it, and the Red Queen has a devil’s tail.
You seem to need a wholesale account to order from the site, but I am sure the paper can be requested from a crafting supply store near you.
(Click on either image to see larger versions on the Graphic 45 website.)
"Through the Looking Glass" Graphic 45
"Wonderland Classifieds" Graphic 45
There’s an interesting anecdote in a June 4th 2010 New York Times article about Pawn Stars, a History Channel television show about Las Vegas’s Gold and Silver Pawn Shop.
Shelby Tashlin of Las Vegas walked to the counter clutching a boxed edition of “Alice in Wonderland” containing an etching and 12 lithographs by Salvador Dalí. Ms. Tashlin’s opening thrust: the Dali prints were limited in number. Mr. Harrison’s parry: “He’s pretty well known for fudging numbers.” Mr. Harrison spoke about etching versus lithography and allowed that Dalí and Lewis Carroll were a “wonderful combination.” Then it was time for business. Ms. Tashlin wanted $10,000. Mr. Harrison asked if she had taken a little blue pill, and offered $5,000.
She politely declined and walked away still clutching “Alice in Wonderland.” “I was hoping it would go the other way, but I’m not surprised,” she would tell a reporter later.
The Folio Society
The Folio Society has published a facsimile of the original manuscript of Alice’s Adventures under Ground. The print run will be limited to 3,750 hand-numbered copies, each clad in goat skin and gold and priced at $179.95.
The edition comes with a companion booklet describing the adventures of the manuscript itself, authored by Sally Brown, Curator of Modern Manuscripts at the British Library and the lucky custodian of the precious original.
Carroll's Queen of Hearts
From Victorian Trading Co.
Time for our irregularly regular round-up of what’s new in the world of Carroll collectibles and Alice in Wonderland-themed garden gnomes.
First up… Alice in Wonderland-themed garden gnomes! These may not be entirely new but we haven’t mentioned them here before. Alice, the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit are sold for around $60 each by the Victorian Trading Co.. However, to complete your Wonderland patio diorama you may need to turn to Old Durham Road, who also sell the Cheshire Cat and a toadstool.
From the Victorian Trading Co.
Other Alice items in the Victorian Trading Co. catalog, either available now or coming soon, include magnets, a blank journal, a pair of earrings and a pendant. The Tenniel-inspired pendant is quite fun – it is reversible and shows Alice before and after her drink and is accompanied by a small silver vial “for secret messages,” or prescription medications, perhaps.
From Old Durham Road
Back on the subject of garden furnishings, the company Old Durham Road is also selling a trio of stepping stones, each imprinted with the footprints and catchphrase of a Wonderland character. Choose from Alice, the Cheshire Cat and The March Hare (to whom they attribute the phrase “I’m Late, I’m Late.” Oops.)
Next up, Classico is selling a range of magnets, postcards and mugs featuring an unusual series of Alice illustrations – unusual in that we can’t figure out who the artist was. Classico have so far not responded to our emails of inquiry. Can an LCSNA member out there shed any light?
Finally, from Dollmasters comes “The Alice @ The Tea Party Chess Set.” Each porcelain figure, we are told, is hand-painted, costumed, be-wigged and fully poseable. The catch is that there appear to be only 16 pieces and the board is “fixed in block arrangement for better display,” oh, and it’s $6,500.
"The Alice @ The Tea Party Chess Set" from Dollmasters
The Red Queen, sold by AG (Advanced Graphics)
Some light entertainment for your Sunday morning: Where would you put a life-size cut-out of Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen (yours for only $34.95 from AG)? I would like to think of her used to direct attention to a particularly important agenda item, or perhaps to direct traffic (to the left).
I have to admit I am featuring this item mainly because the idea of the company made me giggle: AG, “Home of Cardboard People” is “the world’s largest manufacturer of cardboard standups.” Where “our kind of people are cardboard people.”
But fans of Disney’s 1951 Alice in Wonderland may like to ask why it is possible to purchase a three-foot-tall cut out of Dumbo, but no Alice and no Cheshire Cat? Who exactly is the target audience? Does the Dumbo fan club really wield more eccentric purchasing power than the fans of Alice? Say it isn’t so!
Is it the surreal and episodic nature of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that inspires so many collage-style artistic responses, or is it just what good twenty-first century artists do? Handmade “vintage” jewelry, steampunk fashion, photo collage: it’s all very po-mo, isn’t it? However, as the following demonstrates, the results can be pretty cool.
“A Mad Tea Party” by Kenneth Rougeau
Kenneth Rougeau has created eighteen illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (enough for a new edition!) using fragments of previous illustrations, vintage photographs and other assorted photo stock. The resulting digital collages can be viewed on his Flickr photostream or purchased from Etsy.com, where he sells under the vendor name Synchronicity 313. Though fragments of each creation are familiar, the overall effect is new and fun to explore.
“Steampunk Alice in Wonderland Plays Croquet” by Ramona Szczerba
Ramona Szczerba’s Alice is more muted but no less effective: “Hand painted, hand cut and hand assembled with vintage images on a stretched canvas, it is embellished with Thai lace paper, ivory crocheted trim, brass rivets and a single brass rose on Alice’s hat.” It’s the essence of steampunk. The collage is for sale on Etsy.com where Ramona, previously featured on this blog, sells under the name of her childhood imaginary friend Winona Cookie.
Alice in Wonderland Charm Bracelet by Janine Byrom
Janine Byrom of Cherished Trinkets, makes sweet fairytale pieces out of brass and bows and, in all probability, sugar and spice. She sells from her home in Manchester, England, but has a flat rate worldwide shipping fee. Her “Alice in Wonderland Collection” contains necklaces, charm bracelets and greetings cards, all for the little girl who loves pink, however old she is.
Of course, post-modernity has its ugly babies too. How about a Disney 2010 Alice in Wonderland-theme Yahtzee dice cup? It’s certainly contemporary. We should all feel very proud of our century. Keep up the good work!
Usaopoly Alice in Wonderland Yahtzee