Last February I was extremely privileged to visit the National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. I was sat at a huge oak desk with fancy lights and cushioned mats on which to rest the most fragile of tomes. There were two storeys of books all around me and a hushed sense of scholarly reverence filled the room.
A very large box was placed in front of me. This was Christmas, birthday and Easter all rolled into one! Inside the box was a sizable stack of mounted etchings – tiny – but unmistakable … Sir John Tenniel’s signed and numbered etchings of Alice in Wonderland!
My first encounter which Tenniel’s iconic illustrations was a paperback book of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass that had belonged to my mum. Her doodles and scribbles covered the inside and back front cover. It was the only book that I could sit down and read from cover-to-cover in one go.
I adored the Walt Disney version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the Tim Burton films too, but for me, Alice in Wonderland’s imagery belongs to Sir John Tenniel.
With biro in hand I collaged body parts from the different characters in Alice universe and created this set of characters: The Paintress, Brian, Aliceone, Three Faces, Magdelane Morrow and Magoose. Why those names … literally the names just come to me as I am drawing! I have a particular fondness for Magdelane Morrow (Mad Hatter meets Alice, meets Tweedledee) and I have adopted her as my website logo.
I am delighted to be releasing limited edition prints of this Alice collection, mounted and framed. More details TBA.