Set of original electrotype plates for ‘Alice’ illustrations found at garage sale

Four original electrotyped plates, used for printing illustrations for the first edition of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”, have turned up during a garage sale in Bungay, Suffolk (UK).

According to Hull Daily Mail and Metro News (where I got the photo’s from), a man called Paul Searle unknowingly bought the plates as part of a lot of ‘junk’ during a garage sale, while actually looking for glass bottles for his collection.

According to mr. Searle, he wanted to ‘preserve them in history’ and see them returned to their ‘rightful home’. Hull Daily Mail mentions he ‘sold them to a book shop for an undisclosed fee’ but in their article title a sum of £5,000 is mentioned.

The book shop in question is Blackwell bookstore in Oxford. I called them to verify the information in the linked articles, because they are not very clear. The lot apparently contained two (not four) plates used to print the first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (the Hatter holding a tea cup and slice of bread, and Father William doing a somersault), and two plates used to print the first edition of Through the Looking Glass and what Alice found there (Haigha and Hatta with the fighting Lion and Unicorn in the back, and Alice standing at the ‘Queen Alice’ door with the frog).

Copper plate of the Hatter holding a tea cup and slice of bread illustration

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Book review: The Tenniel illustrations to the ‘Alice’ books

A second edition of “The Tenniel illustrations to the ‘Alice’ books” from Michael Hancher was published last month. Read what has changed compared to the first edition and whether this second edition is (also) worth buying.

Cover of Michael Hancher's "The Tenniel illustrations to the 'Alice' books"

The first edition

For those that are not familiar with the first edition, let me first describe what the book is about.

In “The Tenniel illustrations to the ‘Alice’ books”, Hancher discusses in great detail how John Tenniel’s illustrations for both ‘Alice’ books were possibly inspired, consciously or not, by existing works of other illustrators. He also discusses what the recurring elements in Tenniel’s style of drawing are, which leads to similarities between the ‘Alice’ illustrations and his earlier work for amongst others the magazine ‘Punch’. He also tells us how much influence Carroll had on the illustrations and how much freedom Tenniel received from the author.

The first chapter, about resemblances between Tenniel’s earlier work and his Alice illustrations, is quite extensive. Later chapters are rather short and each discuss one illustration from the ‘Alice’ books specifically.

The last two chapters concern the process of woodcutting and its quality, printing techniques, and picture placement within the ‘Alice’ texts.

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Japanese translation of “The Annotated Alice” soon available

Next month a Japanese translation of the 150 Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Martin Gardner’s “Annotated Alice” will be published.

“The Annotated Alice” is a very well-known and recommended book in the ‘Alice’ community, as it explains a lot of the background of the story. Both ‘Alice’ stories are printed in full and are supplied with many annotations in the margins.

The book has been updated several times, which led to new editions. The 150 Anniversary Deluxe Edition was published in 2015, when the story of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” celebrated its 150th birthday.

On 19 December 2019 a Japanese edition, translated by Gakuma Hiroshi Takayama, will be published.

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Summer Course: “Lewis Carroll in Oxford”

The University of Oxford (UK) offers several summer courses in 2020, among which “Lewis Carroll in Oxford”.

The summer course is a one-week course and part of The Oxford Experience, a residential summer programme aimed at non-specialists.

During this course, the participants will discuss the real people and places behind the “Alice in Wonderland” story, look in detail at some of the many facets of this famous tale, and see how this work of imagination has been interpreted and reimagined over the last 150 years.

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‘Wonderland’ exhibition in Singapore

If you reside in or visit Singapore soon, do pay a visit to this immersive and interactive ‘Wonderland’ exhibition in the ArtScience Museum! It runs until 22 September.

This ‘Wonderland’ exhibition is aimed at people of all ages and explores Alice’s journey through popular culture. You can discover how artists and filmmakers have portrayed Alice and her story for over a century. The exhibition makes use of theatrical sets, interactive environments, eye-catching props and audiovisual artworks to create a Wonderland. ‘Wonderland’ includes over 300 artefacts and objects including first edition books, drawings, original costumes, films, magic lantern projectors, animation and puppetry.

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Inspired by Alice Family Fun Day 2019

The annual ‘Inspired by Alice Family Fun Day’ in Guildford, UK is coming up! Join this day of Alice inspired entertainment on the grounds of the historic Guildford Castle.

What to expect:

  • activities for all the family
  • craft activity
  • live music
  • opportunity to explore Guildford Castle
  • stalls and refreshments

Bring a picknick to enjoy the day in the gardens. If you come dressed as a character from Wonderland, you may win a prize!

Date: 3 August 2019
Time: 11am to 4pm
Location: Guildford Castle, Castle Street, Guildford GU1 3SX, UK

Entry to the grounds and many of the activities is free. Castle entry is £2 for adults, £1 for children.

More information: https://www.guildford.gov.uk/article/22562/Castle-events