Alice in Wonderland: Original Illustrations

Have you ever wondered who originally illustrated Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland?

John Tenniel created a total of ninety-two drawings for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Lewis Carroll had originally illustrated Wonderland himself, but had limited artistic abilities. It was suggested that he hire a professional illustrator, so Carroll sought out Tenniel since he was familiar with the illustrators work in Punch. Tenniel was a staple political cartoonist for Punch magazine for over 50 years and in 1893 he was the first illustrator to be honored with a knighthood from Queen Victoria. He was born in Bayswater, London, England on February 28, 1820 and passed away at the age of 93 on February 27, 1914. He studied at the Royal Academy of Arts, but was mainly self-taught since he didn’t agree with the school’s teaching methods. Tenniel was known to be quiet and tried to avoid the limelight as much as possible.

Special Collections has acquired an embossed cut-out paper dolls sheet of the original illustrations drawn by John Tenniel. The sheet includes Alice and Rabbit with multiple outfits and accessories to dress them with. The collection also includes an illustrated pencil tin with Alice, the Mad Hatter, and Rabbit having tea, a rubber stamp, a notched card construction and building set, a card game, and finally my personal favorite, a flip book by E. Rayher featuring the Cheshire Cat disappearing until his smile is all that’s left.

If you’d like to come see the Alice in Wonderland ephemera collection (1000-014), you can always come see us in Special Collections, located on the 5th floor of McFarlin Library, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am until 4:30 pm.

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