In a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland, a free exhibition exploring the legacy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland opens at the British Library which will run from 20th November 2015 to 17th April 2016. The exhibition considers the enduring popularity of Lewis Carroll’s original story and the first illustrations by John Tenniel and how it has been reimagined and re-illustrated in the past 150 years after it was published.
One of the main highlights of the exhibition is the original handwritten manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground with 37 carefully drawn illustrations by Carroll. There is also two first editions of Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland illustrated by John Tenniel, including the suppressed first edition which was recalled due to Carroll and Tenniel’s dissatisfaction with the quality of the illustrations. In this section there is more information about Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) and the inspiration for the story, Alice Liddell. The story was not an instant success but quickly gained popularity leading to the creation of Alice memorabilia including wooden figurines, tea tins and a postage stamp case which are shown in the exhibition.
The humour and surreal nature of the story has led to a large number of illustrators creating their own version of the book. Illustrations by Mabel Lucie Attwell, Charles Robinson, Mervyn Peake and Salvador Dali are just a sample shown illustrating the story’s continuing appeal.
It has not been only books, the story has been recreated in ballets, musicals, operas, plays, films and computer games. The exhibition features the first movie adaption of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a silent film from 1903 by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow.
This small exhibition located near the entrance of the British Library is a wonderful way to discover and understand the enduring fascination with Alice in Wonderland. There is plenty of humour and fun in the exhibition and there is even an attractive Alice in Wonderland Pop-up Shop (until 31 January 2016) and a series of Alice-inspired events, including a family workshop, an evening of live comedy, music and experiments hosted by Festival of the Spoken Nerd .
Exhibition opening hours
Monday – Thursday 9.30 – 20.00, Friday 9.30 – 18.00, Saturday 9.30 – 17.00, Sunday and Bank Holidays 11.00 – 17.00
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
If you would like to find out more about the exhibition, visit the British Library website here
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