It Looks Furry

inspiration by re-interpretation

On Borrowing

One of the surest tests [of a poet’s superiority or inferiority] is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.

T. S. Eliot, p. 114 in The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism, 1920

 
Likewise, a good illustrator welds the theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different and sometimes even funnier than that from which it is torn.

And Lewis Carroll may have borrowed from Thomas Gray.

 
2018-02-18, update: 2019-01-05 (Thomas Gray)

My 1st Snark Trophy

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

9.5±0.5 Snark Hunters

There may be no tenth member in Henry Holiday’s illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. I think that the Snark hunting party consists of nine members only. Let us take them in order of their introduction:

  1. The Bellman, their captain.
  2. The Boots, a maker of Bonnets and Hoods
  3. The Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes, but repeatedly complained about the Beaver’s evil lace-making.
  4. The Broker, to value their goods.
  5. 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.
  6. The Banker, engaged at enormous expense, had the whole of their cash in his care.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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: 2018-11-07

The Wontrenator makes Boods

Try “Word”+”Contraction”+”Generator” on the Word Contraction Generator and you get (among other offers) Wontrenator. “Bonnets”+”Hoods” gives you (among other offers) a Boods.

The contractor doesn’t do it, but when selecting A WORD WITH SOME LETTERS in the Word Mixer, the tool yields (among many other offers) Boots for “Bonnets“+”Hoods”.

 
Discussion: Twitter | Facebook

His Hair

001    “Just the place for a Snark!” the Bellman cried,
002        As he landed his crew with care;
003    Supporting each man on the top of the tide
004        By a finger entwined in his hair.

Henry Holiday interpreted “his hair” as the Banker’s hair, not as the Bellman’s hair. Among those who commented on The Hunting on the Snark, that also seems to be the the common understanding of the ambiguously used pronoun “his”. However, if the hair would be the Bellman’s hair, what kind of finger would have been used to support the Banker?

more about the illustration

The Joy of Hiding Things in Art

In a BBC video, video journalist Adam Paylor gives us a good example for why things might be hidden in art: Besides assuming that people who see cryptomorphs in artwork might just be suffering from pareidolia, often one important reason for hiding things in art is neglected by art researchers: Hiding things in images can be fun!

Also from http://severnbeachantiques.com/famous-rare-1980-huntley-and-palmer-rude-garden-party-ginger-nuts-tin you can learn about a good reason for an artist to hide things in art:

I did them out of devilment, purely for a laugh. I’ve always been a bit of a naughty boy but I’ve nothing against Huntley & Palmers. There have been rumours that I got made redundant and did it out of revenge. But that’s not true – I was only ever a freelance. I just felt like adding a bit of smut to the proceedings.

That is what Mick Hill, the creator of the illustration of the Huntley & Palmers garden party ginger nuts tin, said about the hidden surprises in his artwork.

Monstrous Things from Walls

Look at walls splashed with a number of stains, or stones of various mixed colours. If you have to invent some scene, you can see there resemblances to a number of landscapes, adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, great plains, valleys and hills, in various ways. Also you can see various battles, and lively postures of strange figures, expressions on faces, costumes and an infinite number of things, which you can reduce to good integrated form. This happens on such walls and varicoloured stones, (which act) like the sound of bells, in whose peeling you can find every name and word that you can imagine.
        Do not despise my opinion, when I remind you that it should not be hard for you to stop sometimes and look into the stains of walls, or the ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud or like places, in which, if you consider them well, you may find really marvelous ideas. The mind of the painter is stimulated to new discoveries, the composition of battles of animals and men, various compositions of landscapes and monstrous things, such as devils and similar things, which may bring you honor, because by indistinct things the mind is stimulated to new inventions.

Leonardo da Vinci

Kitty


 


 

Comment to tweet by Jono Borden:

Retweeted by Musée Unterlinden (2017-12-27):more
 

Another finding (bycatch from my Snark hunt):

The Image Breakers

  • [left]: The Banker after his encounter with the Bandersnatch, depicted in Henry Holiday’s illustration (woodcut by Joseph Swain) to the chapter The Banker’s Fate in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark.
  • [right]: a slightly horizontally compressed rendering of The Imagebreakers (1566-1568, aka Allegory of Iconoclasm), an etching by Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder.

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