2018-05-24, update: 2021-03-15
Most readers of The Hunting of the Snark assume that the Snark hunting party consists of 10 members. However, probably for a good reason, only 9 members can be seen in Henry Holiday’s illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s ballad. Actually, I really think that the Snark hunting party consists of 9 members only. But if you, as almost everybody else, prefer 10 Snark hunters, that’s fine too. Lewis Carroll gave you (and me) a choice, incidentally(?) in the 9th and the 10th line of his tragicomedy.
Let us take all the crew members in order of their introduction:
- The Bellman, their captain.
- The Boots, a maker of Bonnets and Hoods
- The Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes, but repeatedly complained about the Beaver’s evil lace-making.
- The Broker, to value their goods.
- The Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense, might perhaps have won more than his share. From John Tufail I learned that in Henry Holiday’s illustration the Billiard-marker is preparing a cheat.
- The Banker, engaged at enormous expense, had the whole of their cash in his care.
- The Beaver, that paced on the deck or would sit making lace in the bow and had often (the Bellman said) saved them from wreck, though none of the sailors knew how.
- The Baker, also addressed by “Fry me!”, “Fritter my wig!”, “Candle-ends” as well as “Toasted-cheese”, and known for joking with hyenas and walking paw-in-paw with a bear.
- The Butcher, who only could kill Beavers, but later became best friend with the lace-making animal.
More about the cast:
※ 9 or 10 hunters?
※ Care and Hope
※ The Snark
2017-11-06, completely rewritten: 2021-03-05
But perhaps Holiday’s ruff – and the pose of the Fit Five drawing – was inspired by the Elizabethan drama inherent in Millais’ Boyhood of Raleigh, (1869).
Louise Schweitzer, One Wild Flower (2012)
If you want to be on the safe side, just claim that the meaning of the Snark is elusive. But to the more courageous readers I recommend Louise Schweitzer’s doctoral thesis One Wild Flower.
2017-09-04, updated 2021-03-05
Comment to tweet by Jono Borden:
Retweeted by Musée Unterlinden (2017-12-27):more
Another finding (bycatch from my Snark hunt):
2017-12-27, updated: 2021-02-09
2017-08-28, update: 2020-08-26
2017-09-17, update 2020-08-25
021 There was one who was famed for the number of things
022 He forgot when he entered the ship:
023 His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,
024 And the clothes he had bought for the trip.
025 He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
026 With his name painted clearly on each:
027 But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
028 They were all left behind on the beach.
029 The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
030 He had seven coats on when he came,
031 With three pairs of boots–but the worst of it was,
032 He had wholly forgotten his name.
2018-06-13, update 2020-03-20
2018-10-03, updated: 2020-03-01
This is the first page published in snrk.de, a blog which was set up in 2017. It’s mostly about Lewis Carroll‘s, Henry Holiday‘s and Joseph Swain‘s illustrations to The Hunting of the Snark.
In his Illuminated Snark, John Tufail assumed that the night sky in the front cover of The Hunting of the Snark could be a map. Together with my assumption that Henry Holiday drew inspiration from several paintings by Marcus Gheeraerts (I+II), John’s paper helped me to find the Ditchley Portrait. That again helped me to find the painting by an unknown artist depicting Elizabeth I at old age.
2017-08-28, update 2020-02-27
[…] When [The Hunting of the Snark] was published in 1876 it was illustrated by Henry Holiday who, though a very talented artist, failed to capture the surreal nature of Carroll’s poem. The illustrations for this edition however, provided by Gormenghast author Mervyn Peake, are the perfect accompaniment. Peake’s drawings have an uneasy bubbling quality, blending with the silly and macabre feel of the words […]
Nothing against Mervyn Peake’s illustrations, but already this illustration (even without the yellow lines and dots which I added) might contain more elements of “surreal nature” than what you find in Mervyn Peake’s illustrations. I like those playful weeds (or animals?) in the lower left corner of Holiday’s illustration.
That’s not the only thing which that corner has to offer.
Another popular path (not) to understand The Hunting of the Snark has been stated more than three times: Some call Carroll’s poem “nonsense”. It isn’t.
Anyway, I don’t think that Holiday failed to convey to us graphically what Carroll meant. The price for his achievement perhaps was that Holiday’s illustrations are less eye pleasing than illustrations like Peake’s.
Holiday’s illustrations are as grotesque as Carroll’s poem.
2018-02-16, updated: 2020-02-01
A Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense,
Might perhaps have won more than his share—
But a Banker, engaged at enormous expense,
Had the whole of their cash in his care.
The Times announces that Liddell of Westminster is to be the new Dean: the selection does not seem to have given much satisfaction in the college.
Quote: C.L. Dodgson, 1855-06-07, @DodgsonDiaries on Twitter
2017-08-28, updated: 2019-06-08
2017-09-06, updated 2019-06-04
In this image one of the elements has been marked (orange frame) which Henry Holiday borrowed from a 17th century painting (by an anonymous artist). This might be a bit different from the borrowing described by T. S. Eliot in 1920. In the example shown here, the borrowing of the pictorial allusion is inconspicuous. It doesn’t enrich Holiday’s illustration. It’s only purpose might be that of a signpost pointing to another work of art.
2017-09-27, updated 2019-02-25
Bycatch from my Snark hunt:
I discovered that “face” in Matthias Grünewald’s painting in 2018, but perhaps I was not the first one. I think that Gustave Doré found it already in the year 1863 when looking for inspiration from other artwork.
2018-09-21, updated 2021-04-17
I entered the Snark hunting grounds in December 2008. http://www.artandpopularculture.com/User:Goetzkluge could give you an idea where I was in 2010.
Illustrations by Henry Holiday (from The Hunting of the Snark, 1876) and Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder (Allegory of Iconoclasts, aka The Image Breakers, around 1567): In the “mouth” of Gheeraerts’ “head” a praying priest is depicted. The shape of the priest also is visible in the “mouth” of Holiday’s vanishing “Baker”.
There is more — with acknowledgments to Mahendra Singh, to John Tufail and to the Internet.
Articles in this blog about Henry Holiday’s illustration to the chapter The Vanishing.
2017-08-28, updated: 2018-12-30
2017-09-19, updated: 2018-11-15
2017-09-13, update: 2018-10-11
Bycatch from my snark hunt:
Bycatch (found in 2013) from my Snark hunt:
2017-09-26, update: 2018-05-26