Miscellaneous Alice > Carroll and the Pre-Raphaelites?

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We'reAllMadHere
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Carroll and the Pre-Raphaelites?

Postby We'reAllMadHere » Sun May 20, 2012 8:50 pm

Hello chaps! Now then, I don't have to write a dissertation until my third year, but already I've been thinking of potential ideas to write about. And I think, my dears, that I've struck gold, as my possible subject combines my two obsessions: Lewis Carroll and, you guessed it, the Pre-Raphaelites. As I'm studying art history and English it'd also be a wonderful bridge between the two subjects. Here are some points, off the top of my head:

1) Carroll was an acknowledged admirer of the Bro-hood, and had Arthur Hughes' 'The Lady with/of the Lilacs' hanging in his rooms at Christ Church.
2) His drawings of Alice in the AAUG manuscript display a possible Rossettian influence: dark, flowing hair, a melancholic facial expression. His (slightly naive) pen and ink pictures also remind me somewhat of Rossetti's book illustrations such as 'Goblin Market'. This might be stretching it a bit too much, but the MS's title page, with its Gothic lettering and scrolling ivy, is reminiscent of Victorian medievalist designs.
3) Carroll moved to Christ Church in 1851; William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones started at Exeter College in 1852. I'd be interested to know if their paths ever crossed, or if the mural paintings at the Oxford Union Old Library, painted by Rossetti, Morris and Burne-Jones between 1857 and 1859, had an influence on Carroll, who surely must've visited the Union during his Oxford career. The cathedral at Christ Church also has some stained glass windows by Burne-Jones from 1859.
4) Henry Holiday, illustrator of 'Snark', is today considered an eminent Pre-Raphaelite artist (his drawings and stained glass designs are unmistakably Pre-Raph). He was also good friends with Carroll.
5) As Carroll was a photographer, it would be interesting to draw some parallels with Julia Margaret Cameron, the great 'Pre-Raphaelitist' photographer. Interestingly, Cameron photographed Alice Liddell as Pomona in 1872. Carroll's name is now included alongside those of other Pre-Raph photographers.
6) Tenniel's illustration of the White Knight, the frontispiece of TTLG, is probably a direct reference to a painting by John Millais, 'Sir Isumbras at the Ford'.
7) Carroll photographed portraits of the Rossetti, Millais and Hughes families, as well as John Ruskin, Holman Hunt and Tennyson, all of whom are directly or partially associated with the Pre-Raph Bro-hood.
8) It'd be pretty nifty if I could get away bringing in Jonathan Miller's 'Alice' at some point, as its art direction is overtly Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian. Yes, I love the film that much. ;)
8) I could go on.

I hope no-one who reads this steals my ideas, though. Well, if you do, I can take you to court and this post can be used as evidence against you that they were my ideas first. :p Anyway, I would LOVE to write about this, as it centres around two things I adore more than my own soul. And I also don't think it's a topic that's been explored much. It'd be a lovely way to evoke a very specific aspect of the Victorian era, both literary and artistic, that centred around a sort of poetic medievalist fantasticalism, if that's a valid phrase.

Thoughts? Might as well brainstorm with fellow experts. :-)

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Postby AlexLowry » Sun May 20, 2012 9:32 pm

(I KNEW from the very beginning you were the creator of this topic! I'm starting to know you well AIW:-D)

The connection between Lewis Carroll and the Pre-Raphaelite movement could be a fascinating subject to write about, and to read as well. I guess your teachers would be glad to read something out of the ordinary for a change. Just be very careful with your sources, but I do not doubt you will be.

I support you at 100% on this work! I wish I could help you on this, I'm a pretty decent researcher and if you need to trace a document, I'll be happy to help you. (And I swear here and now for anyone to see: I will never steal your work)

Quite recently, I came across a book called "Lewis Carroll in Wonderland" by Stephanie Lovett Stoffel, even if the title sounds cheesy, the book itself is extremely well written, straight into the point and gossiping-free. I've learned from here that Lewis Carroll was closer to the pre-raphaelite movement than I thought. So the connections you found are very likely to be true.

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Postby We'reAllMadHere » Mon May 21, 2012 1:07 am

Indeed, I'm just too predictable by now ;) I mean, it seems silly, seeing as I'm physically, mentally and spiritually obsessed with the Pre-Raphs, not to do a dissertation on them!

I imagine, for research, I shall have to delve deep into volumes of letters and diaries, or into archives, to uncover little nuggets of information...how exciting! And if I ever require your assistance, I shall hire you!

If that book contains any information regarding both Carroll and the PRB, then I ought to check it out! I figured that if I start to compile information now it'll save me a bit of faffing around at the time. I think Jenny Woolf's excellent biography also has some info about the link, if I remember right.

Another thing I stumbled across: Dante Rossetti's obsession with wombats supposedly inspired the Dormouse?? http://www.lewiscarroll.org/2012/05/08/ ... is-wombat/ WUT. The article actually contains some interesting little snippets regarding both Rossetti and Carroll. According to one quote near the end Carroll 'was a frequent visitor of Rossetti’s household at Chelsea.' :O :O

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Postby Beautiful Soup » Mon May 21, 2012 9:34 am

Coo! I'm surprised you don't know about the wombat - it's mentioned in Martin Gardner's Annotated Alice - You must have read it? (You probably just forgot)

Except that article you linked to says that there (almost certainly) wasn't a link between the dormouse and Rosetti's wombat
the final nail in the coffin to the Wombat-Dormouse theory....Dante Rossetti had bought the first of his pet wombats in 1869


I think you're going to need to read Jeffrey Stern's article(s)

Lewis Carroll the Pre-Raphaelite : "Fainting in coils" 1976

And maybe

Lewis Carroll and the "Lady of the Lilacs", Jabberwocky 10, Spring 1972

The first seems to be frequently referenced when discussing LC & the PRs



And yes, Carroll was apparently chummy with the Pre-Raph guys
In the interim between his early published writing and the success of the Alice books, Dodgson began to move in the Pre-Raphaelite social circle. He first met John Ruskin in 1857 and became friendly with him. He developed a close relationship with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his family, and also knew William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Arthur Hughes, among other artists. He also knew the fairy-tale author George MacDonald well – it was the enthusiastic reception of Alice by the young MacDonald children that convinced him to submit the work for publication
From Wikipedia no less (Cites Leach's Shadow of the Dreamchild and Cohen's Lewis Carroll: A Biography)

Plus (here's fun) Also from Wikipedia, citing Cohen
In 1876, Dodgson produced his last great work, The Hunting of the Snark....The painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti reputedly became convinced the poem was about him.


Ruskin is significant, I think
The "Drawling-master" who came once a week to teach "Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils" is a reference to none otherthan the art critic John Ruskin. Ruskin came once a week to the Liddell home to teach drawing, sketching, and painting in oils to thechildren. They were taught well. It takes only a glance at Alice's many watercolors and those of her brother Henry, and at an oilpainting of Alice by her younger sister Violet, to appreciate the talent for art that they inherited from their father. See Colin Gordon's Beyond the Looking Glass(Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982) for reproductions, many in color, of works of art produced by theLiddells.
From The Annotated Alice


Interesting article on Ruskin and Carroll here

http://www.oscholars.com/Ruskin/Ruskin2/article.htm

Which features this rather tantalising line
Rossetti agreed to sit for Carroll’s portrait photography in 1863 and in exchange, Carroll took useful photographs of his drawings
How interesting it would be to have a look at those 'useful photographs'....

Plus a bit of juicy PR gossip / AiW connection...

Ruskin married Euphemia Gray, but the marriage was anulled six months later owing to Ruskin's impotency. Gray promptly married the PR painter John Millais and had eight children with him - one of whom was the little girl pictured in Millais's My First Sermon

http://kevinalfredstrom.com/art/d/2058- ... Sermon.jpg

A painting which Tenniel may have been parodying in his picture of Alice on the train

http://djelibeibi.unex.es/libros/Tenniel/Glass-14.jpg

Gardner agues that the similarity is even stronger if you include Millais's My Second Sermon in the mix

http://kevinalfredstrom.com/art/d/2061- ... Sermon.jpg

Gardner also mentions that
In his diary (April 7, 1864) Carroll records a visit to Millais's house, where he met his six-year-old daughter, Effie, theoriginal of the girl in the painting



Tate Liverpool's recent Alice in Wonderland exhibition touched on the PRs

It featured this painting by George Dunlop Leslie

http://media.kyte.tv/store/010/bor/1110 ... ed478932f0

Also work by Rossetti, Hunt and Millais and Dodgson's photographs of his pre-raph chums, plus his photos of the Liddells (of course) but also work by Cameron

It might be worth having a look at the catalogue, if you can get your hands on one, but I wouldn't particularly recommend buying one as the PR thing was only a small corner of an exhibition which spanned more than a century




And there's the Tennyson connection, he influenced both LC (talking flowers) and the PRs (lady of shalott)

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Postby We'reAllMadHere » Tue May 22, 2012 11:31 pm

Holy Joseph, Soup, you're a genius! :O Seriously, what fantastic finds!! Thank you so much!

I will admit I didn't read that article properly; I just got rather excited at the prospect that Rossetti (might have) had an influence on Carroll, and in my haste forgot to look into the particulars! And the informative edition of Alice I own is the Penguin Classics version, which has notes that I'm sure as copious as Gardener's (I sadly don't own a copy of Gardener's Alice, somehow, though my grandparents have an old one I occasionally look into when I can); perhaps that's why I was never aware of the Rossetti-Dormouse connection!

Aha, thank you for reminding me of that Millais painting that inspired Tenniel! I was aware of that, but had forgotten. There's also another Victorian painting that is also thought to have inspired that same illustration, but I can't remember the artist/title. It's of two women in a train carriage, and the point of perspective is identical to that in the Tenniel picture. Anyway, I'll consult my notes.

Do you know, I really wanted to see that Alice exhibition at the Tate, but I wasn't able to make it all the way up to Liverpool. :( there were several newspaper articles about it though! I expect my uni library has a copy of the catalogue, they always do. I'm also certain that the beautiful exhibition catalogue I keep meaning to get, called The Pre-Raphaelite Lens, has a few photographs by Carroll in it, alongside work by Cameron and Henry Peach Robinson.

Thank you once again, Soup, for your glorious research! I'll follow them up when/if I can. :D It seems one needs only to do a little digging before all sorts of relevant info comes up! There's more stuff out there about Carroll and the Pre-Raphs than I first thought! I particularly like that link between Ruskin and 'Hiawatha'.

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Postby Beautiful Soup » Wed May 23, 2012 2:23 pm

Ah, I know the (train) painting you mean...Can't remember who it's by tho...Hang on...

Here it is...
The Travelling Companions by Augustus Leopold

http://www.pettipond.com/travcomp.jpg

Michael Hancher's excellent work The Tenniel Illustrations to the "Alice" Books talks at some length about the possible influences on that image, including the Millais and the Leopold (Rossetti even gets a mention regarding the decorative use of ivy in the Looking Glass Insect pictures.)

https://ohiostatepress.org/Books/Comple ... iel/11.pdf

There's also a very interesting chapter on Carroll/Tenniel's experience employing the Daziel Bros for their engravings as compared to the PRB's experience using the same company (and some discussion of their differing aesthetic intentions.)

https://ohiostatepress.org/Books/Comple ... iel/13.pdf

I strongly recommend reading the second chapter linked to there - the first is very interesting but not quite as relevant (to you) as the second



If anyone else reading this thread is interested in what influenced Tenniel's illustrations dor the Alice books, Hancher's work is utterly fascinating and available here

https://ohiostatepress.org/index.htm?/books/ complete%2520pdfs/hancher%2520tenniel/hancher%2520tenniel.htm

EDIT Dammit! That link is so unreliable! If you want to see the book, click 'home/search' at the top left, then type 'hancher tenniel' into the search box - It's the first result



I did contrive to visit the Tate's AiW exhibition, and while I hovered around the pre-raphaelite corner all I could think was, "AllMadHere should see this - He'd really like it." :p

Catalogue for sale here, if you fancy it

http://shop.tate.org.uk/art-history/ali ... nges,alice

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Postby We'reAllMadHere » Sun May 27, 2012 3:33 pm

Soup, I've said it once, and I'll say it again - you are a saint. I feel that, if I do end up writing a dissertation on this subject, that I ought to acknowledge you in the introduction! (I think one has to write a page of acknowledgements, as it is.) :D Those links are invaluable, and it's nice that they're all here in one place online so I have them for reference.

I've also recently found out, thanks to my Penguin Classics copy of Alice, that there's an article in a book called Lewis Carroll Observed that's even titled 'Lewis Carroll the Pre-Raphaelite'. Luckily the book's only a couple of quid off Amazon Marketplace, so it's easy to acquire. :O JOY!! :-)

As a random geeky side-note, I was always weirdly drawn to the ivy in that Looking-Glass illustration, in that it just seems a very Victorian detail; to think that there's a Rossetti link is quite coincidental!

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Postby Beautiful Soup » Sun May 27, 2012 3:40 pm

AllMad, you goose, I already referred you to LC the PR in my first reply
I think you're going to need to read Jeffrey Stern's article(s)

Lewis Carroll the Pre-Raphaelite : "Fainting in coils" 1976

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Postby We'reAllMadHere » Sun May 27, 2012 11:43 pm

>_< wow, I'm on form today. I think I got lost amid the wealth of links. I do apologise. (:-O

At any rate, the people I've told about it seem to think it's a valid idea. Which is promising. :O

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Postby Beautiful Soup » Sun May 27, 2012 11:59 pm

For what it's worth (me not being in the academia biz or anything) I think it's an excellent idea. I'm (fairly) sure you'll be able to generate a dissertation's worth of information, plus there's plenty of room for original research. And, as you said, it beautifully dovetails both of your subject choices AND your two great loves. An excellent idea indeed!

Should I encounter any more relevant info between now and your third year, I shall certainly sling it in here :)

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Postby Beautiful Soup » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:17 am

I don't know if you've seen the other thread, talking about Carroll's diaries, but some kind soul has pointed out that a complete version has been published

And, most useful to you I think, Volume 10 is an index which lists all the (major?) names (and possibly subjects) referred to in the diaries

IMO this should prove an invaluable resource for you - Simply draw up a list of the PRB (and associates such as Ruskin), check in Volume 10 and bingo bango, primary evidence!

I've checked WorldCat for availability of the book(s) in Oxford and here's the results

http://www.worldcat.org/title/lewis-car ... ef_results

I don't know if the link will come up 'Oxford' for you though - If not, just stick it in that box asking your location and it'll give you all the closest results

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Postby Beautiful Soup » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:15 pm

AllMadHere is gone from this site, and presumably his dissertation is, by now, but a distant memory, but just on the off chance anyone else is interested in LC & the PRB, here's a blog post discussing the subject

http://preraphaelitesisterhood.com/lewi ... phaelites/

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Re: Carroll and the Pre-Raphaelites?

Postby jenny2write » Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:23 am

Good idea. carrolll knew very many pre Raphaelites and of course photographed DG Rossetts whole family (and was influenced by christina Rossetti's poetry. ) He and Mrs. Cameron didn't think much of each others photos. They once had a photo session looking at each others pics on the Isle of Wight. carroll moved in similar circles to many of the pre Raphaelites. I don't think his diaries mention the Oxford union paintings.
Suggest you get involved with the Lewis carroll society and you will find many people who could help with your research.

Jonathan Miller lives quite near us.

Jenny Woolf
Author "The Mystery of Lewis Carroll"

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Postby jenny2write » Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:25 am

By the way the Lewis Carroll and ruskin society in London are having a day long seminar on LC and Ruskin (and art) on Saturday 21 March, that is just a few days time! you could check out their website http://lewiscarrollsociety.org.uk/pages ... vents.html


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