NYC - Central Park: Alice in Wonderland

Jose de Creeft's life size sculpture of Alice, from Lewis Carroll's 1865 fantasy classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland sits atop a giant mushroom in Central Park's Margarita Delacorte Memorial overlooking the Conservatory Water. Alice holds court perched on a giant mushroom, reaching toward a pocket watch held by the March Hare, the host of the book's zany tea party. Her serene calm contrasts sharply with the manic expression of the nearby Mad Hatter, who appears poised to launch one of his nonsensical riddles. Crowding the edge of a smaller mushroom and nibbling on a tea goodie, is the timid dormouse who seems ready to flee any impending insult. And peering over Alice's shoulder in all the activity is the Cheshire cat. The face of the Mad Hatter is said to be a caricature of philanthropist George Delacorte, who commissioned the statue from José de Creeft in memory of his wife, Margarita. Alice herself is said to resemble de Creeft's daughter, Donna.

 

A favorite of children, the mushrooms and figures have become smooth and polished over the years as pint-sized feet have climbed over them to the top of this 11 foot structure while using their tiny fingers to grab hold of Alice’s hand or the Hare’s ears for support.

 

Dedicated in 1959, de Creeft's sculpture closely follows John Tenniel's whimsical Victorian illustrations from the first edition of the book. Alice The sculptor also included lines from Margarita's favorite poem, "The Jabberwocky," in a granite circle surrounding his work:

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and

 

Central Park was designated a scenic landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1974.

 

National Historic Register #66000538

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Taken on September 18, 2006