Alice in Wonderland slides based on John Tenniel’s original drawings for Lewis Carroll’s book.

Curiouser and curiouser! said Alice

A new exhibition at Tate Liverpool devoted to Alice in Wonderland and its influence on visual culture has opened, using items from the University of Exeter’s film museum. 

The Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture, has loaned a full 24-piece-set of magic lantern slides telling the Alice story.

The slides date from around the 1890s and are based on John Tenniel’s original drawings for Lewis Carroll’s book. They are lively and colourful approximations of Tenniel’s style, making the characters in the book come into vibrant life. The slides replicate the most famous Alice in Wonderland images but are copied by someone else in the style of the original artist. These images would have been illuminated and projected by the magic lantern both in the home and in public venues.

Lewis Carroll’s timeless novels, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, have fascinated children and adults alike since their publication over 150 years ago. The books’ famous characters - Alice, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the grinning Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the Duchess, and the White Rabbit - have etched themselves into the collective memory. Alice in Wonderland at Tate Liverpool will provide insight into the creation of the novels and the inspiration they have provided for artists through the decades. The Tate Liverpool exhibition will be on display until the end of January next year and will move to Rovetero in Italy and Hamburg in Germany.

Phil Wickham, the Curator of The Bill Douglas Centre said: “We are delighted to be working again with the Tate after taking part in the Rude Britannia exhibition in 2010 and very pleased that we are contributing to their exhibition on Alice in Wonderland. The complete Alice lantern slide set is one of our most popular items. The loan demonstrates that the Centre is becoming known around the world for its unique collections on the moving image.”

Digital copies are on display in an exhibition at the Bibliothèque de Rennes Métropole in France at the same time that the physical slides are being shown in Liverpool, Italy and Germany. A smaller set of the first eight slides in the Alice series remains on display in the Bill Douglas Centre at the University of Exeter.

Date: 2 November 2011

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