It's been 150 years since Alice first fell down the rabbit hole. And to celebrate her momentous arrival in British literature all that time ago, London has gone Alice crazy, with wonder.land at the National Theatre, the recent Alice's Adventures Underground immersive play and the V&A retrospective.
For any genuine fans of the story, the British Library's free exhibition is one of a kind, featuring books and original illustrations that reach back to the very start of Alice's journey in 1865 when the avuncular Oxford fellow Charles Dogson - better known by his pseudonym Lewis Caroll - put to paper the story he had told off the top of his head and at the bequest of Alice Liddell, his friend's daughter.
Visitors (following the red and white instructions on the walls) are led past the original unpublished manuscript that was gifted to Alice Liddell by Lewis himself, right through to the first published books illustrated by Sir John Tenniel, and all the way to the present day, examining her reinvention during the Edwardian period, the Second World War, the hallucinogenic affiliations during the '60s and around the world as they go.
Naturally enough for the British Library, this exhibition is historical and text heavy and makes for a rewarding exhibition for anyone with an interest in the books, characters or art history. Although Alice in Wonderland is a children's book, however, only academically engaged children who are prepared to work at understanding what they're looking at, will really enjoy this exhibition.
If your little darlings are like Alice but not quite old enough to appreciate the history, we recommend taking them instead to see Disney in Concert's Alice in Wonderland at the Royal Albert Hall this winter.
Suitable for ages 8+
|What||Alice in Wonderland, British Library|
|Where||British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB | MAP|
|Nearest tube||King's Cross St. Pancras (underground)|
20 Nov 15 – 17 Apr 16, Mon, Fri: 9.30 - 18.00 Tue, Wed, Thu : 9.30 - 20.00 Sat: 9.30 - 17.00 Sun: 11.00 - 17.00
|Website||Click here for more information|