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Ditchley Snark | by Bonnetmaker
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Ditchley Snark

Henry Holiday's illustration (1876) to the front cover of Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark compared to a reproduction of the Ditchley Portrait (a gift from Sir Henry Lee to Queen Elizabeth I, c. 1592) by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.



"While I concede Tufail 's thesis (2003) that Holiday received his instructions from Carroll and created his illustrations to reflect Carroll's cryptic messages and allusions, I contend that the interpretations given to the words we know so well by so many illustrators over a period in excess of 130 years continue to keep the Snark alive. Furthermore, it is my personal belief that Holiday managed to slip in a few interpretations of his own even though Carroll approved of the end result."

(Doug Howick: The Hiihijig of the Bijtcheb, Knight Letter #28, Summer 2009)


Perhaps Tufail and Howick both are right.


As Henry Holiday frequently alluded to works of father&son Gheeraerts, John Tufail's Illuminated Snark (2004) gave me the idea to search for a Gheeraerts painting in which a map is shown. John reckoned, that the clouds in Holiday's front cover illustration may be part of a map. I think that this possibility cannot be excluded. John's assumption then drew my attention to the Ditchley portrait. (The Ditchley portrait again helped me to find sources for Holiday's illustration to the back cover of Carroll's book as well.)


Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons:

2012-03-14: Redrawn high resolution version


No copyright claimed: 4912 x 3875


Remark: Since May 2013 most of my images are maintained at

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Taken on February 9, 2012