One of my favourite books in the world is Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll. In fact not just the book – I love the ideas, the illustrations, the history and the endless versions of it that have been created. When I heard the British Library were having an exhibition dedicated to it I just had to go.
From the British Library website:
“Happy Birthday Alice! To celebrate 150 years of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this exhibition explores how Alice has captured our imaginations for so many years. Although the story has been adapted, appropriated, re-imagined and re-illustrated since its conception, we are still enchanted by Carroll’s original, much loved story, which continues to inspire new generations of writers and illustrators.
Come and see Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript with hand-drawn illustrations, alongside stunning editions by Mervyn Peake, Ralph Steadman, Leonard Weisgard, Arthur Rackham, Salvador Dali and others.
Discover how Lewis Carroll’s story has been re-imagined, re-interpreted and re-illustrated over the last 150 years with newly commissioned articles, a selection of manuscripts, reviews and literature relating to Alice in Wonderland”.
You start by taking a journey through a pop up of mirrors and maze walls all peppered with Alice in Wonderland quotes and various illustration from books across the 150 years of its publication.
You then enter the exhibition itself which showcases everything from the first edition, details and photos of the original Alice; Alice Liddell, examples of all the different illustrations that have been done over the last 100+ years, plus original art, vintage toys and of course, the ‘Disneyfied’ Alice and her merchandise.
My favourite thing had to be the original diary and then handmade book (complete with hand drawn illustrations) by Charles Dodgson (the real name of Lewis Carroll) that he made Alice as a present after that afternoon of storytelling…for a fan like me it was just breaktaking to see it.
Plus there’s a fab pop up Alice in Wonderland shop with lots of fabulous quirky items.
Its definitely worth a visit whether you are a fan or not and its wonderful that it is free for the nation to enjoy. Thank goodness for the patrons of the arts whose donations make this sort of thing possible.
The exhibition is in the library foyer, is free to get in to and runs until 17th April.
The British Library is at 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB – nearest Tube Kings Cross/St Pancras.