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  • (2)
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  • (3) -- Just compare shapes and forms. Don't compare perceived objects.
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  • This disappeared in the final illustration.


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[left]: Redrawn segment from one of Henry Holiday's pencil drafts for the depiction of the Baker's visit to his uncle (1876) in Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark.

[right]: John Everett Millais: Redrawn Segment from Christ in the House of His Parents (1850) depicting Mary (and a part of Christ's face in the upper right corner).

This example very nicely shows how Holiday worked on the construction of his conundrums in his illustrations to Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark. Even though Holiday copied a face from a face, he reinterprated shapes of face elements from the source face in order to represent different face elements with a resembling shape in the target face. The baker's ear is based on a shape in the depiction of Marie's face which is no ear. The same partially applies to the Baker's nose and the baker's eye.

Such kind of obfuscation would not surprise us when used to hide quotes in a poem, where quotes from other texts should not be recognizable as quotes right away. The focus on textual analysis of the Snark seems to lead us to underestimate Holiday's paralleling Carroll's wordplay with is own means as an graphical artist.

By the way: In 1882, Alfred Parsons turned the Baker's ear into a part of a chair in Charles Darwin's study at Downe. Holiday quoted and was quoted. Artists like Parsons, Holiday and Millais (see below) do such things and have fun when playing their game. Today Mahendra Singh is maintaining the tradition, in the Snark and beyond the beast.

  1. 76 Totters Lane 43 months ago | reply

    Seen in Total Art loved in total

  2. [ Ben ] 41 months ago | reply

    nice composition and capture. love your work!

  3. joel bybee 41 months ago | reply

    This image really is intuitive, poetic, beautiful,
    wild, imaginative, and powerful .

    I admired it in:

    North Wind's Daughter

  4. Bonnetmaker 41 months ago | reply

    Well, intuitive, poetic, beautiful, wild, imaginative, and powerful surely sounds exiting. Actually, here I just like how an artist played with the works of other artists. Not only did Holiday play with Millais' painting. He and Millais played with an earlier 16th century painting. And all three played with the beholders of their work.
    Henry VIII's Bedpost (marked)

  5. DUCKMARX 33 months ago | reply

    Wonderful research. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. stnarcissus 28 months ago | reply

    wow. i am a teacher. and occasionally i use snarky comments to teach my students history...but my real loves are art and literature. i like how u crop these to highlight effects.

  7. Bonnetmaker 28 months ago | reply

    The Hunting of the Snark is about art and literature and history.

    With these pictorial comparisons students perhaps could have fun to learn seeing again. Contemplation is a good thing. There is a world beyond simple pictograms and Powerpoint.

    As student I hated history classes. 40 years later, Henry Holiday's illustrations and Lewis Carroll's poem made me dig into the History of Britain. Perhaps that would work with students too.

    I posted the following quote in other comments already, but perhaps there is no harm to repeat it here too: "We have neglected the gift of comprehending things through our senses. Concept is divorced from percept, and thought moves among abstractions. Our eyes have been reduced to instruments with which to identify and to measure; hence we suffer a paucity of ideas that can be expressed in images and in an incapacity to discover meaning in what we see. Naturally we feel lost in the presence of objects that make sense only to undeluted vision, and we seek refuge in the more familiar medium of words. ... The inborn capacity to understand through the eyes has been put to sleep and must be reawakened."
    Rudolf Arnheim: Art and Visual Perception, 1974, p. 1

    Another good read is E. H. Gombrich's Art & Illusion (1959, last revision 2002).

    As for art and history, Albert Boime's Art in the Age of Civil Struggle (2007) could be used to teach history between 1848 and 1871 through arts. Millais' Christ in the House of His Parents is covered starting at page 260.

    Millais' conundrums in that controversial painting had been slumbering there since 1850. (Imagine the controversy, if someone would have discovered them already in the Victorian era.) And Holiday's conundrums had been waiting for their discovery since 1876. (Luckily, Carroll's boss didn't get Holidays joke. At least it was sufficiently deniable, just in case...) Perhaps I still missed a few conundrums.




  8. 76 Totters Lane 28 months ago | reply

    This is the gold standard in Art, as seen in www.flickr.com/groups/artbanditsgold/
    Two Girls, One Earring
    Please post your quality art and comment on good work you see here. www.flickr.com/groups/artbanditsgold/

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