Organized by the Henry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin
As the creator of the classic children’s tale The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, known around the world for generations, Lewis Carroll has a permanent place in literary history. Less well-known today are his achievements as a prolific photographer, published mathematician and logician, game inventor, accomplished draftsman, and magazine editor, among other diverse pursuits. Carroll, the pseudonym of the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, led an exuberant creative life that spanned many subjects and artistic forms. For the first time, and with unprecedented depth, this exhibition assembles materials from across a range of media to illustrate the profundity of one man’s engagement with the world both imaginary and real.
Drawn from the extensive Lewis Carroll archives at the Henry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin, a collection chiefly compiled by Warren Weaver and supplemented by the Mr. and Mrs. Susan Rafferty and Brian W. Sewell collections, as well as the Gernsheim Collection of photography, the exhibition features numerous rare editions of Carroll and Dodgson texts, published internationally in languages from Bulgarian to Swahili. Accompanying these works are many illustrations by Carroll and others depicting Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. A handwritten magazine edited by Carroll during his youth is also included, providing insight into the imagination that would later produce such enduring works.
The precocious innocence of childhood was also the dominant theme of Carroll’s photographs, composed largely of heartfelt portraits of the restless minds and cherubic faces that were the protagonists of his literary world. These remarkable portraits of his “child friends” were made between 1856 and 1880, during the height of the Victorian Age in England—many of them at Carroll’s rooms at Oxford, where he was a Mathematical Lecturer. Intimately aware of the photographic work of contemporaries such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Henry Peach Robinson, Lady Clementina Hawarden, and Oscar Gustave Reijlander, Carroll also explored subjects and themes beyond children’s portraiture. Photographs of family members, celebrities, academic colleagues, and genre subjects provide a fascinating overview of the social and professional milieu in which he worked. Taken in its entirety, Lewis Carroll offers a rare and comprehensive glimpse into the extraordinary life of a figure whose pursuits beyond fiction embraced a wide range of human endeavor.
NUMBER OF WORKS: 106
TOUR DATES: September 1998 - October 2000
SUPPORT MATERIALS: Publication, Aperture, 1998