Alice in Wonderland.

Illustrated by Charles Blackman.

Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, [2006].


“The White Rabbit came into the kitchen and helped me cook the dinners,” said Australian artist Charles Blackman (b. 1928), who was working as a cook in a French restaurant in Melbourne. “I would go home to my loft and paint The Rabbit and Alice.” Blackman had first encountered Alice on a tape for the blind that his first wife, Barbara, had borrowed from the library—thus sans illustrations—and found numerous parallels with his life and Barbara’s.


This book is not an actual illustration of the text of Alice, but a catalogue of an exhibition of Blackman’s “Alice in Wonderland Series,” a set of 46 paintings, all done in 1956 and 1957. Blackman’s paintings, such as that on p. 74, focus on just two characters, Alice and the Rabbit (representing his wife and himself) with recurring motifs of teacups, flowers, tables, and chairs. Alice’s darkened eyes and dysmorphia are said to reflect Barbara’s worsening vision and increasing spatial disorientation.


Exhibit item 3.42