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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.

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Taken on August 2, 2010