Random Images: Little Red Riding Hood

The next two images come from the Bettmann collection and are illustrations involving Little Red Riding Hood.

A reader has done some preliminary research (see comment below) and has followed up with additional details.  The story is written by Maria A. Hoyer and published by Ernest Nister.  The first image of the wolf approaching Red Riding Hood was illustrated by Ada Dennis.  Finding the names and dates for illustrators in Nister publications is difficult as neither of these details were considered important and are rarely mentioned.  During the over forty year existence of the publishing company, dozens of illustrators were contracted and were required to draw in a particular style making it hard to distinguish between them.  On rare occasions, signatures or initials may be present. [160227]

Bettmann - Illustration of Wolf Approaching Little Red Riding Hood

Ada Dennis – Illustration of Wolf Approaching Little Red Riding Hood (c 1890)

According to the caption, the following image came from a slide taken of a lithograph.

Bettmann - Illustration of Little Red Riding Hood

(Artist Unknown) – Illustration of Little Red Riding Hood (c1890)

From the Bettmann Archive

S.A.: The Disney Girls

As mentioned in my very first Pigtails post, I spent my young adulthood in the U.S. Army. And even though I lived under the rigors of military discipline, it was a time of relative freedom for me. My platoon sergeant had a huge collection of Disney films which he brought so we would have something to watch while we were living temporary barracks. Like most people, I assumed cartoons were just for kids and were not very sophisticated, but these Disney shorts had a humor that could only be appreciated by adults. Walt Disney was not producing films for kids, he was producing them for himself. I became fascinated with the evolution of the Disney Studios and read everything I could get my hands on. I read in one account that Disney wanted to prove that a full-length animated feature was possible and would be respected by the general public. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was the first of these efforts. It was important to him that the characters be believable and not just caricatures. To that end, he challenged his animators to make every effort to pay careful attention to detail and find a way to give the heroes and heroines sex appeal. Of course, in those days it was not acceptable to say the word “sex” in mixed company and thus when referring to this mandate, they would say “S.A.” which today seems an amusing constraint. This post is dedicated to those early Disney girls with S.A. No more passing off Mickey Mouse with a bow, skirt and pasted eyelashes and calling him Minnie!

The interesting thing about studying Disney animation is that the Disney Studios were pioneers and one can watch the evolution of that medium. Early attempts did manage to make their lead female characters pretty, but not especially alluring. Probably the first characters to fit this description were the centaurettes from Fantasia (1940). They are fantasy creatures but some attempt was made to make them look “right”. Here is a page with a few concept designs.

Disney Studios - Concept Designs (late 1930s)

Disney Studios – Concept Designs (late 1930s)

After Disney approved the concepts, the animators would make a more fine-tuned sketch that showed the final appearance of the character. Since this will be used to produce the final animation, the placement of the dark lines is very deliberate.

Disney Studios - Final Outline Sketch (c1940)

Disney Studios – Final Outline Sketch (c1940)

Then there are animators who draw the final cleaned-up sketch, in-betweeners who draw the intermediate motions of the characters and a team of women who color the cells.

Edit: For a comprehensive list of the artists who worked on ‘The Rite of Spring’ segment of Fantasia, please refer to this page. – Pip

Disney Studios - Fantasia (1940) (1)

Disney Studios – Fantasia (1940) (1)

I was surprised at the popularity of this iconic pose and this creature is now a figurine.

Centaurette Figurine

Centaurette Figurine

Part of the fun of the early Disney work is the little bits of “business” he has each character do and there are a lot of recurring gags and play on stereotypes that are amusing to an adult audience. One of Disney’s other early mandates is that his characters have distinct personalities. After the centaurettes groom themselves, they get all worked up about the boys coming for a visit so they can all frolick together, but one poor centaurette is without a match until she is discovered by one of the remaining boys.

Disney Studios - Fantasia (1940) (2)

Disney Studios – Fantasia (1940) (2)

Disney Studios - Fantasia (1940) (3)

Disney Studios – Fantasia (1940) (3)

There are even zebra centaurettes accompanying a Dionysian character—all of this to the music of Beethoven’s 6th “Pastoral” Symphony.

Disney Studios - Fantasia (1940) (4)

Disney Studios – Fantasia (1940) (4)

Animators may have been talented artists, but that did not mean they were well-educated on anatomy. About the time of the release of Fantasia, Disney had animals brought in as models for them to study and the first film to show this off was Bambi (1942). From then on, even female animal characters had a certain feminine allure: Bambi’s mother and Faline (Bambi), Lady (Lady and the Tramp (1955)) and Perdita (101 Dalmatians (1961)).

Once the ancient Greeks learned to make large statues from the Egyptians, they then pushed for anatomical perfection. The 1950s were an analogous time for the Disney Studios by which time they routinely accomplished this level of believability. Also, until then, any female leads were young women, not really girls, so we see our first two examples voiced by the same girl, Kathryn Beaumont.

Disney Studios - Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Disney Studios – Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Disney Studios - Peter Pan (1953)

Disney Studios – Peter Pan (1953)

Of course in Peter Pan we also get Tinkerbell, the quintessential animated sex pot who creates some mischief because she is jealous about all the attention Peter is giving Wendy.

Disney Studios - Peter Pan (animation cell)

Disney Studios – Peter Pan (animation cell)

After artists become accustomed to producing anatomical accuracy, they want to play with the forms and so in the late 1950s and 1960s we begin to see an angular style in Sleeping Beauty (1957), 101 Dalmatians and Jungle Book (1967) which was in production when Walt Disney died.

Disney Studios - Jungle Book (1967)

Disney Studios – Jungle Book (1967)

After that, there was a period when the studios attempted to anticipate Disney’s wishes: The ArtistoCats (1970) and Robin Hood (1973) were in the concept stages. Once business interests got control of the studio—changing the name to The Disney Company—animated features were produced more rapidly, but with a more formulaic system that established schedules and deadlines.

Alice: A Personal View

It was my intent after publishing the Graham Ovenden post to then move on to his other relevant work. However, while considering his book, Illustrators of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” (1972), I was urged to cover a much more comprehensive volume recently published, Illustrating Alice: An international selection of illustrated editions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass published by Artists’ Choice Editions in 2013.

I wanted to call this post ‘The Definitive Alice’ but the book itself admonishes its readers from regarding it that way. It is a fair argument because, after all, it only covers illustration despite including a lot of discussion about the stories and their interpretation. And instead of trying to be thorough in covering all views, we get a wonderful spectrum of personal anecdotes and revelations from artists, collectors and other lovers of Alice lore including the more prominent members of Lewis Carroll societies around the world.

Given that a definitive book on Lewis Carroll’s two stories, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1871), would require a multi-volume encyclopedia, Illustrating Alice does remarkably well, bringing out many imaginative key points. The Alice stories (and their ethnic adaptations) have been published in over 100 languages and, in proportion to total word count, are more often quoted in published works than the plays of Shakespeare. Illustrating Alice has an interesting organization. First, some discussion of Alice in different countries is offered, then numerous living illustrators were asked to discuss their experiences and views. There is also some discussion of film adaptations. For serious Alice lovers, this book is an important reference and I offer a more detailed outline of the contents of the book at the end of this post.

With respect to offering fresh interpretations of Alice, it should be recognized how challenging it has been to see past Sir John Tenniel’s iconic illustrations in the original books and to fruitfully psychoanalyze Carroll’s original intent.

Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures Under Ground (1864)

Lewis Carroll – Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (1864)

Sir John Tenniel - Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871)

Sir John Tenniel – Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871)

Due to copyright rules, new versions of Wonderland could not be produced by other publishers until 1907 (and Looking-Glass until 1946). In the U.K. there were already 30 new editions by the end of 1908. Millicent Sowerby had the distinction of being the first to have her illustrations published. Publishers would gradually compete to produce the most opulent editions. W.H. Walker was the first to include scenes not given in the original Tenniel and Harry Rountree had the record for the most color images published, 92. Two of the most popular editions were by Raphael Tuck: one based on early Mabel Lucie Attwell work in 1910 and then a more innovative approach in 1921 based on the work of A.L. Bowley giving us the first examples of pop-ups and a panorama scene with slots to place each of the supplied cut-out characters.

Arthur Rackham - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1907)

Arthur Rackham – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1907)

During World War II, there was a dearth of publishing because of paper rationing. One notable exception was the work of Mervyn Peake. He produced illustrations for both Alice books which were first published in Sweden in 1946, then in the U.K. in 1954. His images, considered among the best by many experts, were modeled after a neighbor girl named Caroline Lucas who, he believed, had just the right qualities. The high regard for his work is exemplified by a quote from Graham Greene, “You are the first person who has been able to illustrate the book since Tenniel.” This is even more remarkable when one considers that Greene was generally opposed to the idea of illustrating great literature at all. The work has since appeared in many editions while the original art deteriorated from neglect.

Libanus Press was later commissioned by Bloomsbury Publishing to take up the challenge of scanning the original drawings and putting in about 240 hours of computer work to restore them. The results were published in 2001 and shortly thereafter Libanus published them with the title Peake’s Alice in actual size each accompanied by an appropriate quote. One of the first artists to break through the Tenniel paradigm was Ralph Steadman in 1967, with a freer and highly political take on the story. In the 1970s, Alice became a kind of poster child for the Ruralists, symbolizing an appeal to nature. The most notable of those were by Peter Blake and Graham Ovenden—the Ovenden works being bound into a volume with only 10 copies in existence. This incredible range of production is indicative of the fact that illustration seems to be the last art form that can be produced without need of government grants or powerful patronage.

Mervyn Peake - Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1946)

Mervyn Peake – Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1946)

In the early days in France only the images of Tenniel and Arthur Rackham were seen. In 1930, the first native illustrator, Marie Laurencin, was published in a limited edition (790) with six colored lithographs. As Alice was assimilated into other cultures, her character would change. Henry Morin (1935) drew an Alice who seemed ill at ease while André Pécoud (1935) portrayed a more mischievous Alice who took delight in her adventures. Nicole Claveloux’s (1974) work is considered a watershed of modern French illustration offering a non-conformist Alice and a special affinity for the animal characters in the story. Her plate with the flamingos became so iconic that it was the basis of a postage stamp in Czechoslovakia. Jean-Claude Silbermann (2002) gives a highly surreal interpretation while Pat Andrea (2006), a noted artist of erotic women, necessarily makes Alice a young woman.

Marie Laurencin - Alice in Wonderland (1930)

Marie Laurencin – Alice in Wonderland (1930)

The first Alice stories in Italy were adapted by Teodorico Pietrocòla-Rossetti—nephew of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and a friend of Carroll—in 1872. This edition was not well-received. The first book featuring an Italian illustrator, Riccardo Salvadori, came out in 1913. Because there was not an established culture of children’s literature in Italy yet, Salvadori’s work, imitating that of Arthur Rackham, meant that this genre was strongly influenced by the Anglo-Saxon imagination. In 1938, under fascism, Carroll’s Alice books were banned. Any publisher wishing to publish had to follow certain guidelines. Perhaps the most famous version was illustrated by Enrico Mercatali (1938) who introduced an older dark-haired girl consistent with the appearance of local girls. In the 1950s, the blond Alice reappeared, partly as a backlash to fascist rules and partly because of the popularity of Disney’s animated film in 1951. In the 1970s, Gianni Celati (1978) used Alice as a symbol of counter-culture and Antonio D’Agostini (c1975) gave a psychedelic interpretation which fits well with Carroll’s fantastical imagery.

Enrico Mercatali - (Exact title unknown) (1938)

Enrico Mercatali – (Exact title unknown) (1938)

During the publishing of the Alice stories, the United States was generally regarded as an ugly stepchild of Britain and something of a rogue nation when it came to respecting copyright. A print run regarded as unsatisfactory by Carroll was sent to the U.S. in 1865. At least half a dozen companies sold pirated editions between 1892 and 1907 before the official expiration of copyright. They all used the Tenniel illustrations but would hire an illustrator for the cover and maybe a frontispiece. Interestingly, the Thomas Crowell edition in 1893 included the first instance of an Alice in a blue frock which became established as her signature color; all images and merchandise approved by Carroll had required the girl to be in a corn-yellow dress. A few publishers did use original work by American illustrators. Blanche McManus was distinguished as the first in 1899 for her husband’s company and Peter Newell in 1901, whose characters display an amusing array of facial expressions and interactions. M.L. Kirk’s rendition in 1904 is somewhat conventional but uses the correct color for Alice’s dress.

After the copyright expired, the floodgates opened and a number of notable American illustrators had their work published including Bessie Pease Gutmann (1907), a single illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith (1923) and Willy Pogány (1929). Walt Disney was obsessed with the story of Alice for a long time, experimenting with various treatments and designs until finally producing the somewhat unsatisfactory film in 1951. The film’s popularity had a stifling effect on innovation in the following decades. David Hall’s paintings and drawings for Disney in the 1930s did finally see the light of day in 1986 and Mary Blair’s concept art for the original film was the basis for a 2008 book.

Perhaps the first satisfactory book after this stagnant period was published in 1982, illustrated by Barry Moser and intended for adult readers. He may have been a bit gun shy of portraying the now iconic Alice and she appears only in the first and last pages as though the reader were observing things from her point of view. A number of prolific and imaginative artists have worked on Alice since then and are really too numerous to name here. An interesting historical note is that the first comic book, a distinctly American art form, was published in 1929 by George Delacorte whose fortune was later used to fund the statue in Central Park. To date, the only edition to be illustrated by a Canadian, George Walker, was produced in 1988 and may also have the distinction of being the last to be set by hand.

Bessie Pease Gutmann - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1907)

Bessie Pease Gutmann – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1907)

Camille Rose Garcia - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (2010)

Camille Rose Garcia – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2010)

U.S. fans and collectors of Lewis Carroll paraphernalia contributed substantially to the scholarship and preservation of the author’s work. Lessing J. Rosenwald donated a handwritten and self-illustrated manuscript of Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures under Ground to the Library of the British Museum in 1948 which can now be viewed in its entirety online.  A copy of ‘The Wasp in a Wig’, a lost chapter to Looking-Glass, was discovered and published in 1972 and Morton Cohen’s biographical research on Carroll is considered to be definitive.

Alice was first introduced to Brazil by Monterio Lobato in the early 1930s using original illustrators (Tenniel and Bowley). He started with an illustration of a fantasy world including Wonderland, Neverland etc. and one from his own stories which translates as “Yellow Woodpecker Ranch”. A number of artists have used collages made from everyday materials to add cultural texture to their work. An example is Helena de Barros (Helenbar) who sewed her own dress and incorporated herself in her images.

Helenbar - A Quadrilha da Lagosta (c2003)

Helenbar – A Quadrilha da Lagosta (c2003)

The popularity of Alice in Japan cannot be understated. In fact, the Alice books and associated merchandise are now so popular that it could be said to be an industry in and of itself. The first Japanese illustrator was Shotaro Kawabata (1908). Kawabata imitated Tenniel somewhat but substituted Japanese everyday articles for Europeans ones. Often these treatments were introduced in magazine form rather than stand-alone books. The benefit seems to be that new artists, both writers and illustrators, have an easier way to become established and recognized.

Tsubakibana “Chinka” Yoshimura (1911) was probably the first to illustrate Alice using strictly Japanese patterns, techniques and composition principles. The early portrayal of Alice had a curious character. Because, in Japanese culture, girls have no real transition from childhood to adulthood, girls were portrayed as very young or very mature. Girl children were expected to act very dependent until a certain age and then suddenly expected to be responsible. The idea of a transitional coming-of-age girl was new and explored seriously only in post-war interpretations. Takashi Saida (1925) was perhaps the first to create a middle class Alice with the right balance of sophistication and uncertainty seen in the English versions. In the 1930s, the rising tide of nationalism and militarism influenced the expression in children’s books and there was a decline in sweet and innocent portrayals until after the war when all constraints on style and interpretation were obliterated. The first expression of Alice as a nymphet was in 1974 by Kuniyoshi Kaneko and many have carried on this theme, exploring Alice’s emerging sexuality.

Takashi Saida - ふしぎなお庭:まりちゃんの夢の国旅行 (1925)

Takashi Saida – ふしぎなお庭:まりちゃんの夢の国旅行 (1925)

Mainland China had a strange ordinance in 1930 which banned Alice on the silly notion that because the animals talked, it put them on the same level as human beings. Also mentioned in the text is the mystery of a strange edition produced in a short run in Inner Mongolia that seems to defy Chinese convention. Writers and artists are not usually credited in Chinese Communist publications. However, this adaptation not only gives this Taiwanese illustrator credit, but seems to be observing a more international form of copyright law.

Shi Huimin - 爱丽丝梦遊奇境 (c2000)

Shi Huimin – 爱丽丝梦遊奇境 (c2000)

In 1879, the first translation of Alice into Russian appeared featuring the art of Tenniel. There was a great deal of enthusiasm for this new literature and a number of editions were produced before the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. Under Soviet domination and particularly under Stalin, artists were regarded as engineers of utopian society rather than challengers of societal norms. Carroll’s works were banned outright simply because they emphasized fantasy and nonsense rather than serving a moral purpose—expressing Socialist Realism. Artistic institutions were integrated as government unions so no rogue artist could ever hope to get a commission or be published without state sanction. The principles of Soviet Communism continued to have a hold on the artistic process even after Stalin’s death.

There seemed always to be an attempt to bring a kind of order to chaos, either literally as in Aleksandr Dodon’s (2001) framing of the text with his illustrations or in some metaphorical way, making Alice the arbiter of morality in Wonderland and the Looking-Glass worlds. The fact that both stories take place in a template of game playing (cards and chess) gave Russian artists the comfort of structure and the application of rules. Julia Gukova’s illustrations break through this convention by making Alice more an integral part of Wonderland, undermining her ability to pass judgment on these dream worlds. The Russian truism that there is no absolute truth in narrative is perhaps the unifying theme of work in the region.

V.S. Alfeevsky - Алисa в Стране Чудес (1958)

V.S. Alfeevsky – Алисa в Стране Чудес (1958)

Aleksandr Dodon - Приключения Алисы в Стране Чудес (2001)

Aleksandr Dodon – Приключения Алисы в Стране Чудес (2001)

The first translation of Wonderland into Polish was in 1910 which included images by Tenniel mixed with an anonymous artist. The effect was confusing since the artist made no effort to match Tenniel’s design or style. It had only one edition and was quickly forgotten. Two later translations/illustrations that did have a lasting impact were by Kamil Mackiewicz (1927) and Olga Siemaszko (1955). As a caricaturist, Mackiewicz’s illustrations predictably exaggerated distinguishing traits of its characters.

A 1955 version was written by Antoni Marianowicz adhering to Communist cultural policy; any reference to class distinctions had to be toned down or reinterpreted. The particular genius of this work is that the English cultural references and poems were replaced outright by Polish ones that readers could relate to. And since Marianowicz was a humorist, this version was certainly more humorous than the original. Siemaszko also illustrated a 1969 version and there is a noticeable refinement in her technique. Most later Polish editions used mostly foreign illustrators and so there appears to be no distinctive Polish style. Only after the fall of Communism did native artists start to come to the fore. Ironically, some of the most recent editions again make use of the Tenniel drawings and so the younger generation is likely to have the same visual associations with the Alice books as their grandparents.

Olga Siemaszko - Alicja w Krainie Czarów (1955)

Olga Siemaszko – Alicja w Krainie Czarów (1955)

After discussing illustrations, the book covers film treatments of Alice. The most interesting is an essay by Jan Švankmajer who describes his relationship to Alice and how, in combination with his own childhood, it inspired the production of an independent film. His first foray into Carroll’s world was a 1971 film based on the poem Jabberwocky. He describes it as an imaginative history of his childhood up to the point when he rebelled against his father. The film opens with a child’s voice (his own daughter, Veronika, then aged 9 in the Czech version) quoting from Looking-Glass. Because the censors saw the film as containing political allegories, it was banned in Czecholslovakia and he made an English version in 1973 which traveled the globe. Only in 1989, was the original film finally seen in his home country.

Another film, inspired somewhat by Alice, was Down in the Cellar (Do pivnice, 1983) about a girl sent to the cellar to fetch potatoes and what happens to her there. Although the film was completed, it did not see the light of day for a number of years due again to censorship. Švankmajer emphasizes the importance of the dream imagery in our human development, a trait that has been long neglected because it served “no moral purpose”.

Finally, he decided to attempt Alice (Něco z Alenky ,1988). The filmmaker wanted to emphasize dream imagery but reminds us that dreams are also filled with familiar objects. All the voices, appropriately altered, would be done by the same child actress consistent with the theory that we are all the characters in our dreams. The idea is that Alice is the only live person in the film and there are no intrusions of adults in voice or body. The other characters were constructed from everyday objects from Alice’s world. The Czech studios took no interest in his work, so he got financing from foreign companies and enlisted the support of art institutions to give his work credibility. The filming was done using old discarded cameras and editing equipment and in 1986, the first Czech independent film saw the light of day. Then in 2006, a Japanese publisher asked him to illustrate both Alice books and he leapt at the chance.

“Lewis Carroll’s Alice is one of the basic books of this civilization, one of those we should take with us to a desert island, just in order to survive.” –Jan Švankmajer (2011, translated by David Short)

Jan Švankmajer - Alice (1988)

Jan Švankmajer – Alice (1988)

Another essay discusses how Alice lends itself so well to animation. Considering the fantastical nature of the stories, it seems that only this medium would have any hope of effectively portraying these magical worlds. Kamilla Elliott, in her book Rethinking the Novel/Film Debate (2003), has identified over 50 film and television adaptations. As mentioned before, Walt Disney was obsessed with producing Alice very early on and in the 1920s, he experimented with a combination of live action and animation for Alice in Cartoonland. The 1951 film distinguishes itself by featuring an actual child’s voice—that of Kathryn Beaumont who also did Wendy in Peter Pan—as opposed to young women used in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty.

A number of living artists shared their experiences illustrating Alice and the philosophy behind their approach. Michael Foreman, for example, noticed how few illustrators tried to make Alice look like the original Alice (Liddell). He also made a deliberate effort to distinguish reality (sepia) from dream (color) and insists that the real background for Wonderland must be his native Cornwall. Barry Moser muses how the story is really about loneliness because of how often the words “alone” and “lonely” appear in the text. John Vernon Lord is a stickler and points out that in the actual text, “Mad” is not applied to any particular character but rather all characters in general. Over the years, we have inherited certain assumptions because of past illustrators: the Hatter is mad, the Hatter wears a hat with a price tag on it and that, at the Mad Tea Party, things other than tea are served. Tatiana Ianovskaia observes a lightly etched eroticism implied by the various metaphors of two things being one: most notably, how playing cards are a kind of marriage of two bodies sharing one space. The other artists featured were John Bradley, Chiara Carrer, Emma Chichester Clark, Gavin O’Keefe, DeLoss McGraw, Helen Oxenbury, Ralph Steadman and Justin Todd.

Tatiana Ianovskaia - Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (2005)

Tatiana Ianovskaia – Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (2005)

A short afterword, written by Graham Ovenden, comments on the modern estrangement between adults and children and that we are often deprived of the full potential of illustrators’ talent and imagination because of economic considerations.

Some of the contributors have observed some developments in the evolution of children’s books. First of all, they feel that there is a lack of charming little details. There is an assumption that children’s books should have simple illustrations. There also seems to be no adult market for illustrated books except in France and Russia. And one final observation is that with the onset of the digital age, Illustrating Alice may distinguish itself as the last time we see this kind of compilation in hard copy.

This post is quite timely as this year is the sesquicentennial anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Illustrating Alice was published in a run of 500 for the Standard edition (68 for the Special edition which comes with signed prints) and can be purchased through the Inky Parrot Press. This publisher also sells other Alice volumes including a version where each illustration is from a different artist. For those wanting a more comprehensive analysis of the Alice texts and history should read one the editions referred to as The Annotated Alice.

Illustrating Alice summary of contents:

  • Foreword by Marina Vaizey
  • Alice in different countries: Brazil by Adriana Peliano, China by Richard Newnham, England, 1865–1939 by Selwyn Goodacre, England, 1940 to today by Dennis Hall, France by Michèle Noret, Italy by Caterina Morelli, Japan by Mikiko Chimori, Poland by Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska, Russia by Ella Parry-Davies, United States and Canada by Mark Burnstein
  • Alice in Film: ‘Alice’ by Jan Švankmajer, ‘Animating Alice’ by Karen Lury
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (artists credited above)
  • Alice Through the Looking-Glass (collected illustrations only, organized by chapter
  • Alice: as through a Glass Darkly (afterword) by Graham Ovenden
  • Alphabetical Checklist of English Language Editions from the lists compiled by Selwyn Goodacre and Edward Wakeling
  • Index of Artists of non-English Language Editions and individual paintings

A Provocative Perch

This story begins with a press photo I noticed on a sales site. I loved the impish expression of the girl while she sat on the head of the White Rabbit sculpture in Central Park, New York. Since the sculpture ties in to the whole Alice in Wonderland culture which is associated with a plethora of material about little girls, I decided it needed to be presented on this site. After a little digging, I realized this photo is historically significant as it was one of many taken during the unveiling of the statue in 1959.

Press photo (uncredited) (1959)

Press photo (uncredited) (1959)

I had no idea that this sculpture existed and even if I lived in New York, I would still probably not have known about it. Since beginning work on Pigtails and working with artists that deal with Alice lore extensively, I now feel it a duty to get to know some of this material (it would be impossible for any one person to keep track of it all). There are many sculptures in Central Park but this is one of the few depicting fictional characters. This piece features most prominently Alice, the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit along with a few other charming characters and details from Lewis Carroll’s 1865 story. The statue is located on East 74th Street on the north side of Central Park’s Conservatory Water. The publisher George T. Delacorte Jr. commissioned the work from José de Creeft, in honor of Delacorte’s late wife, Margarita, and for the enjoyment of the children. The sculpture tries to follow John Tenniel’s whimsical illustrations from the first edition of the book Alice in Wonderland. Some sources suggest that de Creeft’s daughter Donna may have served as the model for Alice. The project’s architects and designers were Hideo Sasaki and Fernando Texidor, who inserted some plaques with inscriptions from the book in the terrace around the sculpture. The design of the sculpture attracts many children who climb its many levels, resulting in the bronze’s glowing patina, polished by thousands of tiny hands over the years. The casting was done at Modern Art Foundry Astoria in Queens, New York.

Owen Kennedy - Central Park's Alice in Wonderland (2009)

Owen Kennedy – Central Park’s Alice in Wonderland (2009)

Pip informed me that had I been more attentive, I might have noticed that there were a number of iconic images featuring this Central Park sculpture. In 1988, it appeared in Slick Rick’s music video, Children’s Story. But by Pip’s reckoning, the most notable photo was probably the one of Jimi Hendrix and his band sitting on the sculpture with a bunch of children. It was used as the back cover of some pressings of the Electric Ladyland album. Jimi actually wanted it for the front cover, but the studio in England insisted on a more provocative photo of nude women—a rare instance where the artist wanted a tamer image than the studio! Editions produced for the American market just feature a closeup of Jimi’s head, reflecting the more prudish attitudes in the U.S.  The image was photographed by Linda Eastman, who later married musician Paul McCartney.

Linda Eastman - The Jimi Hendix Experience's Electric Ladyland (back cover) (1968)

Linda Eastman – The Jimi Hendix Experience’s Electric Ladyland (back cover) (1968)

Sculptor and Photographer Unknown - (Title Unknown)

Sculptor and Photographer Unknown – (Title Unknown)

And while we are on the subject of children playing on statues, I have a bonus for you. This photograph also appeared online, but does not have any identifying information. The seller believes the statue is somewhere in Europe, but could offer no more than that. Anyone knowing anything about this piece is encouraged to come forward with the information and perhaps some better photos.

Wikipedia: Jose de Creeft

Linda McCartney (Linda Eastman) (official website)

Wikipedia: Linda McCartney

Wikipedia: Hideo Sasaki

Central Park (official website)

Jimi Hendrix (official site)

Mark Lancelot Symons: A Symbolist Painter Reborn

British artist Mark Lancelot Symons (1887–1935) was something of an anamoly.  His work is highly accomplished but resoundingly original, though certainly not without precedent (one can see the influence of earlier Symbolist painters such as Leon Frederic).  Yet Symons never felt that art was his true calling, only beginning to paint heavily and present his work publicly late in life, and then mostly at the behest of his wife.

A lifelong Catholic, Symons considered being a minister (unordained–he was able to marry and have children) his raison d’êtreAs a result of his deep religious faith, his paintings are often thematically Christian, either overtly or more subtly; however, he invited massive controversy among his fellow believers in his native country by placing some of the Biblical scene paintings in “worldly” contemporary settings.  Of course, despite the apparently easily offended Edwardian Brit sensibility, no one seems to have raised any objections to Symons using nude children in his work (not unlike Frederic, in fact).  Ah, how different things are today.  Can you imagine a Catholic priest offering paintings of nude children to the public in 2014?

Mark Lancelot Symons – A Fairy Tale

Mark Lancelot Symons – Ave Maria

Jorinda and Jorindal (or Jorinde and Joringel) is an odd choice for a tableau painting.  Paintings based on Grimm’s fairy tales certainly aren’t unheard of, but this is pretty obscure as far as they go, and not really one of their better ones.  The story concerns a pair of youths who are in love.  When the girl is captured by a witch–transformed into a nightingale and imprisoned in a birdcage–the young man dreams of the means to break the witch’s spell and free his beloved.  Pretty much your standard damsel-in-distress tale, in other words.  The decision by Symons to present the characters as modern children is an interesting one.  Place this piece in context of the work of the Pre-Raphaelites, of whom Symons was a follower.

Mark Lancelot Symons – Jorinda and Jorindal

Again, notice the Pre-Raphaelite influence here, particularly Millais and Burne-Jones.

Mark Lancelot Symons – Madonna and Child with Angels (1925)

Mark Lancelot Symons - Molly in the Garden

Mark Lancelot Symons – Molly in the Garden

Mark Lancelot Symons - Molly in the Pantry

Mark Lancelot Symons – Molly in the Pantry

Mark Lancelot Symons - My Lord I Meet in Every London Lane and Street

Mark Lancelot Symons – My Lord I Meet in Every London Lane and Street

Mark Lancelot Symons - The Day After Christmas

Mark Lancelot Symons – The Day After Christmas

Mark Lancelot Symons - (Title Unknown)

Mark Lancelot Symons – (Title Unknown)

 

Sveta Dorosheva

A couple of pieces from Russian illustrator Sveta Dorosheva.  The first is a double page spread from one of her sketchbooks; the second is a book illustration, though I don’t know which book it’s from.  But don’t stop here–you simply must take a look at more of her elaborate art nouveau-esque surrealism.  You can see it herehere and especially here. Stunning!

sveta-dorosheva-17

Sveta Dorosheva – (Title Unknown) (1)

Sveta Dorosheva – (Title Unknown) (2)

Sveta Dorosheva – (Title Unknown) (2)

Having the Time of Her Life: Hajime Sawatari

It may seem a superficial thing to say, but modeling is hard work and photographing models is as well, especially if they are children. On the other hand, many little girls do enjoy getting their hair done, dressing up, playing make believe and generally showing off. Hajime Sawatari’s Alice is an excellent case in point and it happens to be the best example of the tableau I can think of.

Sawatari (沢渡朔) was born in Japan in 1940 and, pursuing his interests, graduated with a degree in photography in 1963. By 1966 he was a freelance photographer working mostly in the fashion industry. Over time, he became more and more entranced by the female form and began documenting his romance with an Italian woman named Nadia. The results of this work garnered Sawatari some critical acclaim. In 1973, he produced Alice which despite its exceptional production quality was not recognized publicly as a masterpiece, most likely because of the nudes of the 6 or 7-year-old girl contained within. Ironically, Sawatari produced a sequel to this work in 1979 called Alice from the Sea using the same model and that did win awards. The little girl, Samantha Gates, would later do other modeling and acting work: most notably (with her brother Stefan) Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy album cover and the film The Water Babies.

It is hard to be sure, but it seems clear the artist was creating an homage to Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), not only because of the Alice motifs, but because he felt it important to show off this beautiful girl in her natural glory. There is also ample evidence that these photos were shot on various estates and other locations in England.  Whatever work difficulties there may have been, I think it fair to say that this little girl had the time of her life. This piece is a kind of swan song for Sawatari as he never did anything quite like it again. Over time he worked with nudes more and more, but they tended to be Japanese and older.

It was hard for me to choose only eight images and I have something to say about all of them. I expect to share some of the others in upcoming thematic posts. Every few pages of the book has an insert of Japanese text taken from the Alice stories to give context and mood to the images.

The artist played with scale by using miniatures as in this shot or over-sized props to create the opposite effect.

hajime-sawatari-shojo-alice-1973-2

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (1)

Sawatari plays around with twin imagery in a few shots using this Alice mannequin.

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (2)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (2)

This image of embarking evokes the idea of a magical journey. The girl’s costume and the beautiful train remind me a lot of scenes involving The Hogwarts Express.

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (3)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (3)

This is the only image in the book that is a two-page spread. Pip did a nice job cleaning it up so you could appreciate its full impact.

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (4)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (4)

This is a wonderful juxtaposition of scale, perfectly suited for this fantasy.

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (5)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (5)

Here, she is frolicking with Tweedledee and Tweedledum. There is another image like it in a wooded setting involving the King and Queen of Hearts.

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (6)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (6)

This is one of several scenes involving the Tea Party and this is a good one showing the entire table setting and cast of characters.

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (7)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (7)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (8)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (8)

[160227] Sawatari’s journal entries from this shoot have been transcribed and translated and will be used for a future post focusing on Gates.  -Ron

Wikipedia: Hajime Sawatari

Frederick Cayley Robinson, Part 1

Although he is hardly known outside of the art community, Frederick Cayley Robinson—another of my favorite Golden Age illustrators and painters—was well recognized for his talent in his own time and was a member of many of the prominent and highly respected British art clubs and organizations of the day.  His pieces are often warm, inviting domestic or pastoral scenes populated with characters you’d love to get to know; his work deserves to be better known.

frederick-cayley-robinson-a-winters-evening-1-1899

Frederick Cayley Robinson – A Winter’s Evening (1899) (1)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – A Winter’s Evening (1899) (2)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – A Winter’s Evening (1899) (2)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Word

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Word

This is interesting.  Although the original sketch (which appeared in The Studio, Britain’s equivalent to Germany’s Jugend) depicts the little girl in the foreground as nude, in the final painting she is clothed.  The question is, was the nude merely an anatomical study on which he had always planned to put clothing, or did he intend the girl to be nude in the painting but later changed his mind?  I’m inclined to think it’s the latter, though not for the reason you might think (prudishness); as is evident from later illustrations, Robinson was not averse to portraying nude children.  As an illustrator myself, what strikes me immediately about the figure of the nude girl is that her musculature seems a bit thick and masculine for a little girl, especially in the context of the time period, when little girls were often depicted as feminine and dainty as possible.  Robinson’s girls aren’t over the top in that regard, but they were certainly no exception to the rule.  In fact, I don’t think Robinson used a nude model at all; I think he used a clothed model and rendered her nude, but Robinson, who had a sharp eye and a perfectionist nature, was unhappy with the girl’s body as drawn and decided to keep her clothed.  Something else I find interesting about this drawing is the way he gridded it out, which is something I also tend to do for my larger pieces.

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Studio – Study for ‘Childhood’ (1912)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Studio – Study for ‘Childhood’ (1912)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Studio – Study for ‘Childhood’ (1912) (detail)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Studio – Study for ‘Childhood’ (1912) (detail)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – Childhood (1)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – Childhood (1)

This is a different work with the same title. Robinson reused his titles frequently. Sometimes his like-titled scenes are quite similar; he apparently liked to rework themes over and over, another trait I have in common with him.

Frederick Cayley Robinson – Childhood (2)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – Childhood (2)

My absolute favorite works by Robinson are the illustrations he did for the print copies of Maurice Maeterlinck’s play The Blue Bird.  It’s a strange fantasial play that has been turned into several films (two in the silent film era alone), a radio play and even a television show, the most famous (or infamous) of the movies being the 1940 Shirley Temple version, which has a fascinating story attached to it.  The film was dark for a Temple vehicle and rated poorly with audiences and critics.  Like its competitor The Wizard of Oz, which Shirley had lost the lead role in due to studio conflicts, the filming of The Blue Bird was fraught with disaster from the beginning.  But unlike its competitor, The Blue Bird bit the bullet at the box office, the first of Ms. Temple’s films to do so.

At any rate, the play is interesting in itself and can be read in its entirety here.  But it is these illustrations which have so captured me.

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Blue Bird (cover)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Blue Bird (cover)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Blue Bird – The Children Enter the Palace of Luxury

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Blue Bird – The Children Enter the Palace of Luxury

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Blue Bird – Dreamships

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Blue Bird – Dreamships

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Blue Bird – Children by the Fireside Recounting Their Adventures

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Blue Bird – Children by the Fireside Recounting Their Adventures

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Blue Bird – (Title Unknown)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Blue Bird – (Title Unknown)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – Pastoral (1923) (1)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – Pastoral (1923) (1)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – Pastoral (1923) (2)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – Pastoral (1923) (2)

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Call of the Sea

Frederick Cayley Robinson – The Call of the Sea

Wikipedia: Frederick Cayley Robinson

ArtMagick: Frederick Cayley Robinson

Comments:

From Ron on July 5, 2012

I believe the nude study of the girl in the foreground was not a girl at all. The definition of the musculature (the pectorals, abdomen and thighs) indicate a male pattern. In fact, it is entirely possible that the model was a classical style statue and the musculature minimized to make it more feminine. The standing nude girl in ‘The Blue Bird’ art is more convincing. This reminds me of the work of O.G. Rejlander, who used photography to demonstrate that certain images were anatomically impossible or had to have been a male model converted into a female as he could find none with a particular physique. It is even possible that an artist has used an adult male and “softened” the features to make it seem more childlike. These are tempting shortcuts for artists as children are notoriously difficult to work with as the typical photographer or filmmaker will attest (children, animals, water). The advent of photography actually gave a wider range of artists access to real child nudes and those skilled with children could publish studies for use by artists.

From pipstarr72 on July 5, 2012

That’s exactly what I think. The musculature and heaviness of the figure suggests he used either an older male model or based his sketch on a classical study of some sort (early Renaissance artists often gave kids unrealistic musculature–they were like miniature versions of the adults they drew). He realized the form was too masculine and opted to cover her body with clothing. Did you notice that the lips of the painted version of the girl were much darker too? They’re almost too dark, in fact, as if she’s wearing lipstick, which makes me think he was overcompensating for the masculinity he perceived in the sketch of the little girl. Despite the masculinity of the figure, I still like the drawing. It isn’t impossible for a young girl to have that form and definition, just highly unusual.

From Reverend Benjamin M. Root IV on July 15, 2012

You guys are thinking like art scholars, and that is cool. But I’ve been to the swimming hole recently, and prepubescent girls have can have amazingly muscular-looking bodies. If there isn’t the size context of a nearby adult, their hips are narrow, butts are small, making their shoulders look broad. Lack of breasts accentuate abdominal muscles. Yes, there is the skinny little ones, and the lingering baby-fat ones, but many of them would be studies in the human muscular system to rival a post adolescent male. I love this drawing!
PS the darkness of the lips in the “painting” makes me think that her lips were just red (as well as her dress). Assuming that this wasn’t an etching or lithograph originally, a traditional stat camera (that would change an color image to black & white for publishing back in the day, before digital scanners) had a tendency to represent reds as very dark, and have trouble picking up blues. I’d love to see the color version of that painting.
Keep it up…this artist was very satisfying for me…right era, right moods, right subject.

From pipstarr72 on July 16, 2012

Well, I think I did say that it was within the realm of possibility for the girl to have this body type; if I didn’t say it, I was thinking it.  But there are certain things about her body that make me think he was using a classical adult male image as a model, only with musculature subdued. I can’t put my finger on them exactly, but as an illustrator myself I just have an intuition about it. I think he tried an experiment and didn’t quite like the results so wound up covering the girl and playing up her femininity. But that is, of course, my opinion and there is no way to prove it at this time. Perhaps in the future I might get hold of a book on Robinson that resolves the mystery.

From Reverend Benjamin M. Root IV on July 16, 2012

Sure. And it’s fair and fun to speculate. In my imagination, he was just accentuating the details in the drawing that he would need to render more subtly in paint later. And I’m not guessing whether his original intent was to add clothes or not, but I wish he hadn’t.
Do we ever get to see any of your illustrations?

From pipstarr72 on July 16, 2012

Oddly enough I have been considering posting some of my work here, but I want to post my best work and not everything I draw is pertinent to this blog. I may select a couple pieces of mine to post in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned.

Heinrich Max Vogel

As I said before, Heinrich Vogeler and Heinrich Max Vogel are two different artists.  We did a post on the former last month; now we shall do a post on the latter.  This first painting reminds me of the work of Léon Fréderic (whom we will be getting to at some point), and at first I thought it was his work, but it clearly bears Vogel’s signature.  At any rate, it is most certainly a Symbolist piece.  The only version of the image I could find has a Swedish title rather than a German, and while I’m not exactly sure what it says, since I am much better at reading German than I am Swedish, I think it translates to something like “Playing Children and the Frog Prince”—the Frog Prince is hard to see, but he’s located near the bottom center of the painting.

heinrich-max-vogel-lekande-barn-och-grodprinsen

Heinrich Max Vogel – Lekande barn och grodprinsen

Heinrich Max Vogel – Kinder mit Gänseschar (Children with a Gaggle of Geese)

Heinrich Max Vogel – Kinder mit Gänseschar (Children with a Gaggle of Geese)

Paul Hermann Wagner

Oddly, there is no Wikipedia page for Paul Hermann Wagner (or much info at all), even though his art is all over the net.  Oh, well.  These all date from the late 1800s and early 1900s, but I’m not able to date them precisely.

paul-hermann-wagner-affec

Paul Hermann Wagner – Affection

Paul Hermann Wagner – At the Footbridge

Paul Hermann Wagner – At the Footbridge

This appears to be a boy, but it’s so cute I had to put it in here anyway.

Paul Hermann Wagner – Aye Aye Captain

Paul Hermann Wagner – Aye Aye Captain

Paul Hermann Wagner – Best Friends

Paul Hermann Wagner – Best Friends

Paul Hermann Wagner – Consolation in Suffering

Paul Hermann Wagner – Consolation in Suffering

Paul Hermann Wagner – Darning Stockings

Paul Hermann Wagner – Darning Stockings

This little fairy is absolutely gorgeous. I currently have her as my computer desktop.

Paul Hermann Wagner – Forest Nymph

Paul Hermann Wagner – Forest Nymph

Paul Hermann Wagner – Hansel and Gretel in the Forest

Paul Hermann Wagner – Hansel and Gretel in the Forest

Paul Hermann Wagner – Mother and Child

Paul Hermann Wagner – Mother and Child

Paul Hermann Wagner – Mother Goose

Paul Hermann Wagner – Mother Goose

Paul Hermann Wagner – New Playthings

Paul Hermann Wagner – New Playthings

Paul Hermann Wagner – Sweet Music

Paul Hermann Wagner – Sweet Music

Paul Hermann Wagner – The Drawing Lesson with St. Bernard – The Siblings Willi and Maria Strauss

Paul Hermann Wagner – The Drawing Lesson with St. Bernard – The Siblings Willi and Maria Strauss

Paul Hermann Wagner – Woodland Nymph

Paul Hermann Wagner – Woodland Nymph

Paul Hermann Wagner – (Title Unknown) (1)

Paul Hermann Wagner – (Title Unknown) (1)

Paul Hermann Wagner – (Title Unknown) (2)

Paul Hermann Wagner – (Title Unknown) (2)

Paul Hermann Wagner – (Title Unknown) (3)

Paul Hermann Wagner – (Title Unknown) (3)

Paul Hermann Wagner – Frühlingsblüthen – Die Gartenlaube No. 18

Paul Hermann Wagner – Frühlingsblüthen – Die Gartenlaube No. 18

Paul Hermann Wagner – Sommerlust

Paul Hermann Wagner – Sommerlust

Comments:

From Ron on June 7, 2012
As the internet is so expansive, we get the mistaken impression that everything can be found, but like the 100s of television channels with nothing worth watching, we are seeing an overemphasis of mainstream culture. Two weaknesses of mainstream culture is appreciation of fine art and appreciation of child as art, Rousseau notwithstanding.

From pipstarr72 on June 7, 2012
True, but it generally works out that a prolific artist whose work is pretty well represented in a Google search is well known enough to warrant at least a paragraph of biographical information on Wikipedia. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Wagner though.

From Clem Rutter,- Rochester, Kent on June 7, 2012
Check out http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Paul_Wagner
If you have any references- then a stub article can easily be put together. Wikipedia doesn’t accept references to blogs such as this ones. To include photo on commons Wikipedia needs to know what the source was so it can verify it—and know that is in public domain—or has a Creative Commons not restrictive license.
Email me if you want to put together an article

From pipstarr72 on June 7, 2012
Ooh, there are some images at Wikimedia Commons I haven’t seen yet! Thanks for the link. I used to check that site regularly but got out of the habit of it. Time to start checking it again.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any real info on the artist, certainly not enough to justify creating a Wikipedia page. Anyone out there with any more info on this artist? If there is, please present it to Wikipedia, because Wagner deserves to be better known.