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The Baker's Uncle over Darwin's Fireplace | by Bonnetmaker
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The Baker's Uncle over Darwin's Fireplace

Segments from

• [left, vertically stretched]: Alfred Parsons' depiction (1882) of Charles Darwin's study in Downe

• [right]: an illustration (1876) by Henry Holiday to Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark

 

 

This comparison is not about Henry Holiday's quotes from other artists. Here Alfred Parsons quoted from Holiday.

 

Did Parsons notice, that in Henry Holiday's illustrations (1876) to Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark the illustrator, academic painter and Pre-Raphaelite artist Holiday quoted from works of several earlier artists? I think, Holiday used such quotes to install pictorial conundrums in his illustrations which parallel the textual conundrums of Lewis Carroll in the Snark poem.

 

Holiday also quoted from John Everett Millais (1850 painting) and from a 16th century anonymous artist, perhaps in order to show that Millais himself quoted from that anonymous artist (not as plagiarism but in order to address iconoclasm depicted in that 16th century propaganda painting).

 

On the youngest side of that quoting chain is Alfred Parsons. In 1883 his illustration of Charles Darwin's study in Downe was published. Parsons not only hid a small zoo in his illustration. He also quoted from the Henry Holiday: In this example Parsons hid the Baker's dear uncle on top of the fireplace of Darwin's study.

 

For this he also used a simple distortion. At least two of the elements in an illustration by Henry Holiday (the face and the tagged medicine bottle in the right image shown above) had been vertically compressed and built into the depiction of Darwin's study. I stretched that segment a bit (left image shown above, 2009).

 

 

Vectorized versions:

• Rescaleable, for printing posters: PDF (7.7 MB) and SVGZ (8.3 MB)

2403 x 1377 JPG

 

 

(The segment of Alfred Parsons' depiction of Charles Darwin's new study is used here with permission by Dr. John van Wyhe, darwin-online.org.uk/. Henry Holiday's illustration has been scanned from a 1911 book.)

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Taken on July 7, 2010