More than 100 years after the original printing of Carroll’s novel, Dali created his own interpretation. An eccentric and often grandiose surrealist, Dali was an ideal artist to represent Carroll’s mad-hatter tea parties, oversized rabbits, and talking caterpillars. A recent post on the Harry Ransom Center’s blog by Sarah Sussman, a graduate student in the English Department, explored the illustrations and their history.
Dali’s illustrations, while less famous than the originals by John Tenniel, are much more vibrant. With strong brushstrokes and intense colors, Dali’s illustrations leap from the page. The most striking aspect of these drawings for any Longhorn is the coloring. From typographical accents to the featured cover of Alice carrying a jump rope, Dali’s illustrations are saturated with burnt orange.
A copy of Dali’s portfolio is housed at the Harry Ransom Center. The collection of twelve prints—one corresponding to each chapter of Carroll’s most famous work—features a leaping wide-eyed rabbit, florescent mushrooms, and even the artist’s signature melting clock. The Ransom Center’s edition is one of 2,500 signed portfolios published by Random House in 1969.
While Dali’s frantic strokes and lively drawings are a good match for the novel’s winding plot, his use of burnt orange makes his portfolio a perfect fit for The University of Texas.
Mad Tea Party by Salvador Dali. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Harshlight.