Posted by: fulto20e | December 1, 2010

Alice in Pop Culture: Illustration edition

A few people have discussed film adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, but I want to take a moment to look at Disney’s 1951 animated movie. I’m sure many of us grew up with this Disney film, despite the fact that it lacks the catchy songs of the later Disney animations (mostly the “Princess” movies…)

However, when Tim Burton directed his horrendous live-action film (which Alice reviewed so well) I began to re-visit my sentimental attachment to the 1951 animated Alice. Although the Disney drawings of Alice lack the classic charm of the original John Tenniel drawings, I adore the cuteness of Disney’s Alice that has become iconic. (And I can’t help but think the Carroll would approve of her innocent, unblemished attractiveness!)

Last Christmas at my local museum (The Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, PA) there was an exhibit called Alice in Pictureland: Illustrations of Lewis Carroll’s Classic Tales.

This exhibition includes work by John Tenniel, the first illustrator of Carroll’s Alice stories, as well as by subsequent noteworthy artist-interpreters, including Arthur Rackham, Peter Newell, Jessie Willcox Smith, and Barry Moser. The exhibition features over 40 objects, including original art, proofs, prints, and first edition books. (source)

It was truly amazing to see the original works of Tenniel, as well as modern artistic interpretations of Alice. My favorite modern interpretation was by photographer Abelardo Morell who took the Tenniel illustrations and staged/photographed them, combining illustration and photography is a truly beautiful way. I have to insist that everyone look at his images here.

That same winter I had the opportunity to see the Tim Burton exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. Included were sketches he made for the Alice in Wonderland movie. Although I can’t find a sketch of Alice, here is a link to his sketches for other characters.

Finally, I leave you with a stunning remix by a genius guy on youtube that samples tiny pieces of the Disney 1951 Alice and creates one beautiful song. (I also have to recommend his other remixes, especially “Upular.” Check out his work here!)


  1. Alice is also an incredibly popular topic in fashion. Whether it’s the universally flattering blue she wears, or that fact that in Wonderland, much like in Haute Couture, anything goes no one knows:

    Here’s a sampling:

    Annie Leibovitz with model Natalia Vodianova for Vogue US December 2003

    Pavel Havlicek for Russian Harper’s Bazaar’s April 2010 feat. Chloë Sevigny

    A very Lewis Carroll shoot by Elena Kalis named Alice in Waterland.

    By Andreas Stavrinides

    And for those who enjoyed Tim Burton’s costumes, here’s one of my favorite sites! It’s got detailed photos of every costume in the movie, as well as interviews with the costumer, facts about props and links to a whole lot more!

  2. Ah! Links didn’t post.

    Annie Liebovitz:

    Chloë Sevigny:

    Andrea Stavrinides:

    Alice in Waterland:

    The Movie Costumes:

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