Sunday, January 3, 2010

twenty-ten Alice

A new film version of the classic Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway is set for cinema release in March, so I guess it is time to fess up that I own a small garden statue based on one of the characters namely "The Duchess". With a face reminiscent of Queen Victoria, the Duchess holds a sneezing baby and at her feet is the large pepper pot belonging to her cook. Reading the text from this part of the story would make any parent contact the child protection services immediately but not so in 1865 when the book was first published.

"The Duchess" as she appeared in the original book

The illustrator was Sir John Tenniel (1820-1914) who sought inspiration at the Oxford University Botanic Garden and even included the Waterlily Glasshouses in the drawing below of 'The Queen's Croquet Ground'. It was colour printed in 1890 by Edward Evans

Sir John Tenniel self portrait in 1889

A couple of other drawings from the book are pictured below.
Caterpillar using a hookah

The grinning Cheshire cat which belonged to The Duchess


  1. Very neat! What a fun statute - It made me smile- Gloria

  2. Gardens based on Alice in Wonderland have always fascinated me. I haven't an AiW Garden, but often when I'm deadheading, I shout, "Off with their heads!" Will you vote for me for Red Queen?

  3. A delightful post, indeed! Too bad, I'm located in another continent: I would have definitely pinched the Duchess from your garden had the circumstances been better!

  4. Very informative. I'd never thought about it before but an Alice In Wonderland garden might be fun.
    Thanks so much for faving me on Blotanical - I appreciate it!

  5. If you can believe it, I've been rereading Alice in Wonderland... a paperback copy tucked away for years. When I moved West I let go of hundreds of books, including a hardcover edition given as a gift.
    I love this post!
    And look forward to the film, with Tim Burton at the helm - it should be wildly creative.
    Yesterday I watched 'Burn After Reading': Hadn't expected much, even though the Coen Brothers are brilliant. It was actually pretty good fun.
    Wishing you a wonderful 2010,

  6. Thanks for all your comments.
    Alice, "Burn After Reading' was one of my favourite movies from last year.Love that dark sense of humour of the Coen Brothers.