For many collectors, the act of cataloging the collection can be an essential part of the pleasure. Caterina Morelli’s blog Alice in Wonderland is a great example. In her native Italian, Morelli painstakingly documents her extensive collection of Carroll editions; as she puts it, “every post is an index card of a book.” Each card starts with an evocative description of the edition, followed by detailed information about the illustrator, publisher, and text – even the dimensions and the construction of the book are recorded. The cards are organized by illustrator.
When she told me about her blog, Caterina mentioned that some day she would like to translate it into English. Perhaps someone reading this blog is an Italian-English translator and an Alice fan? Would you like to help with her project? What nicer way could there be to brush up on your Italian?
There is a new children’s book about Tony Sarg, master puppeteer and inventor of the first balloons for New York’s Macy Day Parade. Sarg was also the creator of Tony Sarg’s Treasure Book – an early “mechanical book” with sliding illustrations and removable pieces. The Alice in Wonderland chapter, demonstrated in the video below, is clearly an important ancestor of last year’s interactive e-book for iPad.
It looks like Fishs Eddy might be liquidating their line of Alice in Wonderland dinnerware. Cereal bowls, drinking glasses, and plates are now 50% off and many of the items listed last time we checked have disappeared with nary a smile or a wink. If you have ever wanted that Tenniel highball/juice glass set, you better get it now!
When not the day of rest, Sunday is the day of home improvements so here’s a link to She Magazine’s guide to Alice in Wonderland-inspired home décor. Contributing editor Michele Borboa’s round-up of Wonderland furnishings includes a few I haven’t seen before, including a teacup chandelier by TransGlobe ($196) and a Cheshire Cat tapestry wall hanging ($109). DIY? More like, DIY not?
Dr Michael Pritchard, a regular contributor to the British Photographic History Blog, has alerted us to his cautionary tale about the uncertain world of eBay bidding. The above daguerreotype, which if you can’t read it is captioned “Charles L. Dodgson Christ Church 1858,” recently sold on eBay for £3,300, about $5,300. The image, if you can’t see it either, is clearly not of Dodgson, in fact the sitter looks more like a cross between Benjamin Disraeli and the Mock Turtle. The suspicious back story to the sale and the insights of the photographic experts all make interesting reading here.
Cindy Watter, who sent us the tip-off, advises “This is a restaurant style product for heavy use. If you dropped a plate on your foot, you would break your foot before you broke the plate” – so, not the preferred flatware for throwing at babies or pigs. Each dish, glass, mug, and coaster is illustrated with Tenniel drawings. They also make a pretty cool tote bag, now priced at $10.36.
"The Red Chess Pieces" Original Artist's Proof for Barry Moser's TTLG
Need a few Carroll books for Christmas presents? An unnamed LCSNA has donated her entire collection to raise money for the Society’s programs. There’s hundreds of great books over there, get them while they last.
“ORDERING INSTRUCTIONS: send the item number or numbers of the books, magazines, etc. to the Publications Coordinator at email@example.com.
DO NOT SEND payment.
Since there is only one copy of each item, the items will we be sold on a first come, first serve basis. We shall respond to your orders by e-mail and inform you of the what is still available, and the total cost, including postage by U.S. Postal Service media mail rate or other shipping means, e.g., non-book items may not be sent media mail rate.”
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.