Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is a story about a curious girl who falls down a rabbit hole and discovers a magical, nonsensical world. Read by millions of children and adults alike around the world, this iconic book has been translated into at least 97 different languages and continues to be published in various forms. From Sir John Tenniel to Arthur Rackham and Margaret Tarrant, this book has had many artists interpret the classic story with unique illustrations.
The origins of the story began when Carroll went on a boat ride down the Thames with three young girls - Alice, Lorina and Edith Liddell who encouraged Carroll to tell them a story. He continued the story on other outings with the Liddell children and eventually started to write it down. Two years later, the story of Alice was published.
The original manuscript (which was called Alice's Adventures Under Ground) was illustrated by Carroll but when it went to print, he thought a professional artist should be responsible for the illustrations. Sir John Tenniel, a well-known artist at that time, worked closely with Carroll and provided the first illustrations for the book. However, when the book was sent to be published, Tenniel rejected the first print run due to the quality and a different version was released in December 1865.
From the hookah-smoking caterpillar to the grinning Cheshire cat, the perpetually late white rabbit, the maniacal mad hatter and the foul tempered monarch as well as the beloved Alice, all of these characters continue to enthrall readers of all ages.
John Tenniel (Macmillan & Co., Ltd.: London, 1865)
In 1893, Tenniel was knighted by Queen Victoria, the first time ever such an honour was bequeathed to a cartoonist or illustrator.