The Mad Hatter is one of the members of the Mad Tea Party. Later he also appears as a witness during the trial. He occasionally is very rude and provokes Alice during the tea party. When he is called upon by the Queen, he is very nervous and frightened.
The Hatter is mentioned in chapter 7 and 11 from the book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. In ‘Through the Looking Glass’, the Hatter returns in the form of the Anglo-Saxon messenger ‘Hatta’.
Although everybody calls him ‘the Mad Hatter’, Lewis Carroll never actually called him that in the story. He just referred to him as ‘the Hatter’.
In Tim Burton’s 2010 movie, the Hatter’s name is Tarrant Hightopp.
The phrase ‘mad as a hatter’ was common in Carroll’s time. ‘Mad as a hatter’ probably owes its origin to the fact that hatters actually did go mad, because the mercury they used sometimes gave them mercury poisoning.
Carroll may have asked Tenniel to draw the Mad Hatter to resemble Theophilus Carter, a furniture dealer near Oxford. Carter was known in the area as the Mad Hatter, partly because he always wore a top hat and because of his eccentric ideas.
It is also often suggested that Tenniel made the Mad Hatter resemble the politician Disraeli.
Mark Davies arguments that it may have been Thomas Randall, an Oxford tailor.
Many people wonder about the tag on the Mad Hatter’s hat. It is a price tag, displaying the price ‘ten and six’: 10 shillings and 6 pennies.
(Want to dress up as the Hatter? Check out my Mad Hatter costume ideas!)