12 beautiful artworks from the 150 year history of Alice in Wonderland

As the British Library's Alice exhibition closes, we take a look at how artists, designers and musicians have interpreted Lewis Carroll's novel.


Throughout its 150-year history, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has been accompanied by a huge range of different styles of illustration – and inspired films, animation and music across a wealth of genres.

This weekend is the last chance to visit an exhibition at London's British Library – opposite the Digital Arts offices – celebrating the impact of Lewis Carroll's novel on the visual and auditory arts. It features classic illustrations from Carroll himself and Sir John Tenniel – through to modern interpretations from the likes of Helen Oxenbury.

You can see a selection in this feature.

Image: The exhibition's graphics by Tony Antoniou, featuring Alice and the Cheshire Cat from Sir John Tenniel's illustrations from the 1866 edition.

The book was written in 1864 by Charles Dodgson as Alice's Adventures Under Ground, who also illustrated the hand-written edition he gave to his friend's daughter Alice Liddell (shown here).

This original handwritten manuscript is on show at the exhibition.


The book was first published in 1865 as Alice's Adventures In Wonderland under the pen-name of Lewis Carroll. This featured illustrations by Sir John Tenniel, which are often considered to be the 'original' Alice illustrations.

Two first editions illustrated by Tenniel are on show at the exhibition.

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In 1907, the copyright on the novel expired in the UK. Many editions followed featuring a wide range of illustration styles.

Arthur Rackham's illustrations offered a darker take than Tenniel's.


Appearing the same year as Rackham's Alice, WH Walker's illustrated edition is in a much more traditional style of illustration.


Also from 1907, Charles Robinson's illustrations were influenced by the emerging Art deco style.

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The rosy-cheeked Alice of Mabel Lucie Attwell's illustrations offers a more simplistic treatment that lacks any sense of menace found in the likes of Tenniel or Rackham's illustrations.


Leonard Weisgard's illustrations for a 1949 edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland use bold colours and are packed with texture and detail – giving the novel an energy lacking in other versions.


Helen Oxenbury illustrated Walker Books' 1999 edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland – which is aimed at younger readers than the works we've included here so far. It's too twee for our tastes.

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The exhibition also features Dodgson's diary, including this entry where he records first telling Alice Lidell and her sisters the story that became Alice's Adventures Under Ground and, later, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland.


Alice has inspired many forms out creative output, and a selection are on show at the British Library. This book of music for the pianoforte, The Wonderland Quadrilles, was composed by Charles Marriott and published in 1872.


The exhibition features many pieces of Alice memorabilia. Alice's Wonderland Birthday Book – compiled by E Stanley Leathes and illustrated by JPM – was published in 1884.

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Alice made her first appearance on British postage stamps earlier this year – but back in 1889 you could buy this stamp case, designed by Dodgson himself.


Also on show at the exhibition are the first film adaptation of Alice – a silent film made in 1903 by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow – and three computer game concepts drawn from a competition run by the British Library and GameCity.

Events accompanying the exhibition include a family workshop and the Festival of the Spoken Nerd.

The exhibition runs until April 17 2016.