Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is brought to life with this exquisite three-dimensional cut-paper gift edition created in association with Royal Mail. Presented in a charming slipcase, the book unfolds to reveal ten of the most famous moments in this classic story, from Alice falling down the rabbit-hole to the Mad-Hatter’s tea party. The beautiful illustrations by Grahame Baker-Smith (winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal), art directed by Godfrey Design, were commissioned by Royal Mail for a set of special commemorative stamps to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The Stamps depict ten scenes and characters: The White Rabbit, Drink Me, The Cheshire Cat, The Queen of Hearts, Alice’s Evidence, Down the Rabbit Hole, The White Rabbit’s House, A Mad Tea Party, The Game of Croquet and A Pack of Cards.
From the Royal Mail site:
The White Rabbit Second Class The legendary rabbit in a hurry takes Alice on an extraordinary journey that changes her life forever. On the stamp she is shown in hot pursuit of the White Rabbit – and adventure – away from a sunny but boring day by the river with her sister.
Down The Rabbit Hole Alice Second Class chases the strange creature into a rabbit hole but an ordinary everyday burrow this is not. Soon the little girl is floating down, down a deep chasm past walls smothered in bookshelves, pictures and maps.
Drink Me First Class At the bottom Alice glimpses a charming garden she can see beyond a tiny door she is too big to go through. She finds a bottle of potion with a painted label imploring ‘drink me’. Alice drinks, then shrinks, but now is too small to fetch the key for the door she found on a table. She eventually reaches the ‘shores’ of Wonderland by swimming away through a pool of her tears formed when the Eat Me cakes grew her.
The White Rabbit’s House First Class The White Rabbit mistakes Alice for his maid and sends her to his house to fetch his gloves and fan. After drinking from another bottle, she grows enormous, and is cramped to the rafters of the Rabbit’s tiny home. After eating a magic cake, Alice shrinks again and is able to escape.
The Cheshire Cat 81p With an ever-present, all-knowing grin, the Cheshire cat lounges on the branch of a tree and explains that everyone in Wonderland is mad, pointing Alice in the direction of two of its leading lunatics – the Hatter and the March Hare. Then, tail-first, the Cat incrementally vanishes, leaving his grin hanging eerily in the air.
A Mad Tea Party 81p Alice suffers a bewildering tea party with the Hatter, the Hare and the much-abused Dormouse, who is used as a cushion then dunked in the teapot. The Hatter offers her wine he does not have and asks her a riddle he has no answer to.
The Queen Of Hearts £1.28 Alice meets Wonderland’s most dangerous resident, the murderous Queen of Hearts – motto: ‘Off with his/her/their head(s)’ – and almost immediately faces execution by being cheeky. Alice is saved only by her own stubborn courage and the King of Hearts’ gentle intervention.
The Game Of Croquet £1.28 Unsurprisingly it is bonkers. The mallets are flamingos, the balls are hedgehogs and the hoops are the Queen’s soldiers gamely bending themselves in two. Alice finds the game rather a challenge, since all the equipment has a habit of moving about of its own accord.
Alice’s Evidence £1.47 Alice is called to give evidence in the trial of the Knave of Hearts, accused of stealing the Queen of Hearts’ tarts. Needless to say, the hearing is a farce. When the Queen demands sentencing first and verdict second, Alice loses her patience, saying: ‘Who cares for you? You’re nothing but a pack of cards!’
A Pack Of Cards £1.47 Alice’s accusation breaks the spell of Wonderland. The courtiers rise as a pack of simple playing cards and fly at her alarmingly. Alice wakes on the riverbank, the cards merely dead leaves her sister is brushing from her face. Alice reveals her dream before running in for tea. Her sister then has her own dream of Alice’s future, as a grown woman telling little children of the adventure in Wonderland she had long ago.
This edition published by Ward Lock: no date- looks like it’s the 1927 reprint. Hardback with dustjacket.
Teddy and Trots find a key to a white gate through which they are able to visit marvellous places such as Blue-China country, the Land of Make-Believe, and the Kingdom of Riddles.
There’s a 1910 review from the Spectator available online.
Agnes was born in Norway to a Scottish family in about 1875. She came to England around 1891 after her marriage. She published a number of children’s books, both original stories and classics ‘Retold For Little Folks‘, plus poems and six novels for adults.
Thomas Maybank was born Hector Thomas Maybank Webb in Kent on 29 February 1869. At the age of eight he was thrown from a horse, injuring his hip. He stayed in St Thomas’ Hospital for two years with the resulting bone disease.
He became a full-time artist in 1902, contributing to Punch regularly until 1909. He was the original artist of Uncle Oojah, written by Flo Lancaster in the Daily Sketch from 1921. He died in 1929.
Emblemland: John Kendrick Bangs, illustrated by Charles Raymond Macauley. Also known as Rollo in Emblemland.
Published in 1902 by R.H. Russell, New York. First edition hardback, no dustjacket.
Inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: a boy named Rollo falls asleep and finds himself in “Emblemland”, a strange country peopled with symbols and icons such as John Bull, Uncle Sam, the Owl, the Stork, Puck, Mr Punch, Father Time and Cupid.
Cupid describes his land as “the home of all Emblems…. Emblems are signs and symbols. I’m an Emblem, because I am the symbol of love; Uncle Sam is the symbol of the United States, and John Bull is the symbol of England, and the Owl is the symbol of wisdom….”
John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922) was born in New York, and was an author, editor and satirist. Charles Raymond McCauley (1871 – 1934) was a newspaper cartoonist, published in the New York Daily Mirror.
Alice and the White Rabbit – Their Trips Round About London by Brenda Girvin.
Published by Partridge & Co, London, undated – ?1900? That’d be the first edition: not sure if this is that or a subsequent print. I think it’s probably not a first, as I’ve seen that described as having a blue cover. Hardback, no dustjacket.
Frontispiece and 7 full-page black and white illustrations, and 25 illustrations in the text, all by Evelyn Stuart Hardy. The cover is rather splendid too.
Hardy came from a family of artists (father, mother and two brothers) living in Bristol. Although known as Evelyn Stuart Hardy and commonly said to have been born in 1870, she was apparently actually born Beatrice Evelyn Elizabeth Hardy in 1865, but became younger with each census!
In the book, Alice and the Rabbit come to London and visit the Tower, the Zoo, Madame Tussaud’s, the Bank of England and others.