Sunday, 22 November 2015


I am rather fond of Tenniel's drawings in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland so when these stamps were issued in January to mark the book's publication 150 years ago I wasn't sure I liked them.  Since then they have grown on me and I enjoy their vibrant colours and a modern Alice; they also look pretty on a postcard.  A collaboration between Jason Godfrey (Godfrey Design) and the artist Grahame Baker Smith it took them many months to come up with a set that told the Alice story and looked a coherent whole.  The FDC uses John Tenniel's drawing of the Mad Hatters Tea Part with the stamps so one has the best of both worlds.  The stamps show the start of the story with the White Rabbit running late and below it Alice falling down the rabbit hole.  Of course Alice cannot resist the potion with 'drink me' on it and the stamp below shows her grown too large for the White Rabbit's house.  The Cheshire Cat makes an appearance  “Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?” The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?” “I don’t know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?” .  Lastly she arrives at the Mad Hatters Tea Party.  Since seeing the Tim Burton film I probably now imagine the Mad Hatter as being a bit like Johnny Depp.

When Charles Dodgson told the story to the Liddle sisters as he and the Rev Robin Duckworth rowed the River Isis from Folly Bridge to Codstow (the cancel on the FDC) about a bored little girl who found adventure down a rabbit hole they asked him to write it down.  In November 1864 (a couple of years after the boat trip) he gave Alice Liddell a handwritten manuscript of Alice's Adventures Under Ground with his own illustrations dedicating it as "A Christmas Gift to a Dear Child in Memory of a Summer's Day".  He was already preparing for publication and approaced John Tenniel to illustate the book but revised the story adding two of the most famous episodes, the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
Once again Tenniel's drawing of the the Red Queen "Off with her head" is used on the cover and the stamps show our Queen of Hearts swooping through the gardens, the game of croquet with flamingos (I like the hedgehog making run for it), Alice giving evidence to the court and lastly -  A Pack of Cards
 'Who cares for you?' said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) 'You're nothing but a pack of cards!'
At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her: she gave a little scream, half of fright and half of anger, and tried to beat them off, and found herself lying on the bank, with her head in the lap of her sister, who was gently brushing away some dead leaves that had fluttered down from the trees upon her face.
'Wake up, Alice dear!' said her sister; 'Why, what a long sleep you've had!' 'Oh, I've had such a curious dream!' said Alice

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme of Children's Stories - more being told here  


Eva A. said...

I'm a big fan of Alice ( I have received most of these set, but I love to see the FDC.

VioletSky said...

I like the idea of having the best of both worlds with the Tenniel drawings and the modern interpretation, which remind me a little of an animated film (maybe by Pixar?). I had only seen the stamps before, not the FDC. And the cancellation is wonderful.

Heleen said...

Wonderful, colourful stamps!
I've seen two of them in real, but never saw the whole series until now. Thank you for sharing!

FinnBadger said...

The fdcs look really special. And Mr Depp made a totally insane hatter, I agree.

Bob Scotney said...

Alice has appeared on a lot of GB stamps but I missed these this year.