There’s a series of comics at a site called Webcomics Nation, reminiscent in style to David Rees’ cut-&-paste web strips (My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable & Get Your War On), except it uses Tenniel’s Alice illustrations as the stock images. The series, Here We Come A-Carrolling, is created by a certain Doctor Randomness of Randomness Productions.
The LCSNA’s very own Mark Burstein has written a concise list of “all those awful Alice movies” (a theme that many in the media have been attempting, as reported here) for Lucas Films’ Blockbusting blog. An excerpt:
- The groovy Sixties found a resurgence of interest in Carroll’s otherworld of mushrooms and hookah-smoking caterpillars. Hanna-Barbera’s Alice in Wonderland or What’s a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This, voiced by Sammy Davis, Jr., Zsa Zsa Gabor, etc. was shown on television in 1966. Later that year, Alice Through the Looking Glass, a musical version with Jimmy Durante, The Smothers Brothers, etc., ran on television as well. Meanwhile, in Britain, the BBC produced a low-key, black-and-white Alice in Wonderland that is arguably the best, certainly the most faithful to the spirit, of all cinematic or televisual adaptations. It was directed by Jonathan Miller, and starred Sir John Gielgud, Peter Sellers, etc.
- The spirit of the Sixties lasted at least until 1972, when a lavish British musical version ofWonderland starring Fiona Fullerton (later a Bond girl) as Alice, and with Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Dudley Moore, and so on came to the big screen.
- A soft-core porno-slash-musical comedy Alice in Wonderland spewed forth in 1976, produced by Bill Osco, directed by Bud Townsend, and distributed by General National Enterprises. Ah, me. It’s very nearly watchable, but was the first of many subsequent erotic films “based” on the books, all of which lack even the marginal charm of this original one, and are not subject matter for this brief overview.
The whole round-up, once again, is here
. Elsewhere on the blogosphere, we’ve been following the LA Times
‘ Hero Complex
(which still hasn’t corrected their mistake, in their
list of awful Alice movies, that the 1903 silent version was “just 68 years after Lewis Carroll first published his fantasy Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
.” Mr. Burstein prefers to note that 1903 is “just five years after Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)’s death in 1898.”) Anyway, they are doing a daily countdown to the movie premiere, and today’s entrée
is about John Tenniel:
“If you go back to Tenniel, so much of his work is what stays in your mind about Alice and about Wonderland,” Burton said. “Alice and the characters have been done so many times and in so many ways. but Tenniel’s art really lasts there in your memory.”
Tenniel was already a major name in political cartooning (and, unfortunately, blinded in one eye from a fencing wound) when he took on the illustrations for Carroll’s strange fantasy. The job was a frustrating one due to the intense detail work and specifications that came from Carroll (whose real name, by the way, was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), but Tenniel had a passion for drawing animals, and Wonderland gave him a singular opportunity for creatures of the fantastic. Tenniel was also a meticulous soul and a demanding artist — the first run of 2,000 copies of “Alice” in 1865, for instance, did not meet his standards and were pulled back. The project was well worth the trouble, however, when the book became an instant literary sensation.
It’s nice of them to quote Burton discussing Tenniel, because, earlier
when they had quoted him discussing his Red Queen’s huge head, it struck me as odd that he didn’t acknowledge Tenniel as the origin of that phenomenon. (“In lots of illustrations and incarnations of Carroll’s work through the years, it always seems like she had a big head,” he noted vaguely.)
Menu cards (porcelain plaques), created by John Tenniel for family dinners, based on his illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, are up for auction at PBA Galleries (133 Kearny St, San Francisco) – low estimate $20k, high estimate $30k. The product description from their website:
Six small hand-painted porcelain plaques by John Tenniel, each with its own wrought-iron miniature easel. Each has a character from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking-Glass taking up about a quarter of the plaque, with the remainder blank, and “Menu” written at the top of each. The plaques measure 5×3½; the easels are about 7½” high.
|Marvelous and unique group of original hand-painted plaques used as menu cards for the Tenniel family dinners, descended in the family over the years. The night’s fare was evidently written in the blank spaces with a crayon or grease pencil, then wiped off after the meal was completed. The characters pictured are The White Rabbit (with his pocket-watch), the Mock Turtle (crying away), the Frog Footman (delivering a letter), the Walrus (without the Oysters and the Carpenter), the Leg of Mutton (taking a bow), and a frog with a rake. The plaques have a small wooden case with a removable top, on which is a label with writing “China (Delicate)”. The case top has two sides missing, some other wear.
Even though it was Humpty Dumpty who first proposed the observance of unbirthdays, it is now of course often associated with Mad Tea Parties. For the crafty: Very Merry Unbirthday Cards and Card Kits sell two craft kits for making “Alice in Wonderland” and “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” themed greetings cards, and other card-making products. That site also links to MadHatterStamps.com which in 2010 is celebrating Alice for obvious reasons. Both the cards and the stamps are from the classic Tenniel illustrations.
“You Don’t Need a Reason to Send an Unbirthday Card”
Yesterday the internet was thick with the news that Alice Liddell’s own copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass were be sold at auction. What few sites mentioned was that alongside these books, the auction house catalog is advertising a veritable who’s who, or what’s what, list of early Alice printed collectibles:
- not one, but two editions of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, one of which is a first edition, presentation copy inscribed by the author to the mother of Edith Blakemore.
- a first edition of The Nursery “Alice”, one of twelve specially bound as samples for the American market
- a first edition of the Wonderland Postage Stamp Case, inscribed to “Miss Wordsworth [great niece of William Wordsworth], from the Inventor. May, 1891.” (A potential steal, listed at $1,000 -$1,500. Don’t you wish you had bought one for a shilling when you had the chance?)
- An Easter Greeting to Every Child Who Loves “Alice”, inscribed to Edith Blakemore from Lewis Carroll. “Four-page pamphlet written on the celebration of Easter for young readers of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”
- and of course lot 28: “Through the Looking-Glass, First Edition, the Dedication Copy, presented to the original Alice by Lewis Carroll and signed by her …with misprint “wade” for “wabe” on page 21.”
- an original ink drawing of Edith Blakemore by Dodgson, “in a bathing costume, holding a bucket and spade, leaning against the wheel of a bathing machine.”
- a letter from Dodgson sending a specimen of his stamp case “…Would you kindly furnish me with the addresses of any Stationers (doing a good amount of business) to whom it would be worth my while to send a specimen-copy of my new Stamp-Case…?”
- another first edition of Through the Looking-Glass, this one with two original pencil drawings by Tenniel on the half-title signed “Ever yours, JT”.
- #743 of 1,500 copies of the 1932 Limited Editions Club print of Wonderland and Looking-Glass, signed “Alice Hargreaves”
- Eight or Nine Wise Words about Letter-Writing, inscribed by Lewis Carroll to Alice Blakemore, the mother of one of his child-friends.
- and finally, an original John Tenniel drawing of the sleeping Gryphon (list price $60,000-$80,000!)
The items are being auctioned by Profiles in History on December 16th, the same Hollywood memorabilia dealer selected to auction Michael Jackson’s be-gemed and illuminated glove. Full descriptions and images of all the Alice items can be viewed in a pdf of the catalog, available on their website.
Twenty new cards from Blue Barnhouse called “A Weekend With Alice” re-interpret Sir John Tenniel’s classic Alice illustrations with irreverent captions. There’s also others with the same trick using Oz and other retro illustrations. Available for $5 a pop at the Blue Barnhouse online store.
There’s also four in their Drug department (not just making the obvious jokes, they’re pretty left-field. The illustration of the White Rabbit with trumpet & scroll is captioned “Somebody hold my MFA so I can light this thing.”)
Northern California artist Susan Sanford has created a 2010 calendar with some very clever images: “Alice’s adventures in Wonderland reimagined as if Tenniel’s illustrations had leaped out of the book and were adventuring in the rose gardens and antique stores in the real world.”
Also, don’t miss her homage to Alice and Edward Gorey. (Hmm, and why *didn’t* that combination ever happen? He illustrated Dracula after all…)
Fans of the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab‘s perfume, particularly the Mad Tea Party collection, will be pleased with sister company Black Phoenix Trading Post‘s hand-cast sterling silver perfume pendants. In addition to the Cheshire Cat pictured above, there are lockets based on Tenniel’s illustrations of the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit.
White Rabbit Press has just launched a new signed and numbered limited edition of prints from The Nursery Alice. The prints are signed by Caroline Luke (great-great- grandniece of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), Mary Jean St Clair (granddaughter of Alice Hargreaves, née Liddell), Walter Tenniel Evans (great-nephew of Sir John Tenniel), Lesley (Dalrymple) O’Neil (great-grandniece of Emily Gertrude Thomson), and Edward Wakeling (former Chairman of the Lewis Carroll Society and noted Carroll scholar and author) See www.alice-in- wonderland.biz for more information.
The Portugese clothing website dressing fairytales/historias para vestir has several dresses for little girls made with Alice in Wonderland fabric, very colorful, while designer Charles Anastase has a dress for grown-up girls with a black and white Tenniel design (on sale for *only* £240).