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.
All art is infested by other art.
(Leo Steinberg, in Art about Art, 1979)
Gustave Doré was an inspired master thief too:Segments from:
※ Plate I (mirror view) of Gustave Doré’s illustrations to Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote (1863),
※ Matthias Grünewald’s Temptation of St Anthony (c. between 1512 and 1516, a panel of the Isenheim Altarpiece, now located at Musée Unterlinden, Colmar, France).
The borrowing never ends:
2018-02-18, update: 2022-09-05
※ [top left]: Illustration to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876) by Henry Holiday: The Vanishing (detail from lower left side depicting some weeds which seem to have some fun with each other)
※ [top right]: John Martin: The Bard (ca. 1817, detail from lower left side, retinex filtered and vectorized, then slightly horizontally compressed)
overview | Twitter
2018-02-17, updated: 2022-06-22
Comment to tweet by Jono Borden:
In his illustrations to Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark" (1876), Henry Holiday might have referred to a detail in this panel of the Isenheim Altarpiece. pic.twitter.com/Q0AruMIpps
— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) December 26, 2017
Retweeted by Musée Unterlinden (2017-12-27, 2022-06-20):
Another finding (bycatch from my Snark hunt):
2017-12-27, updated: 2022-06-20
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, update: 2021-03-05
Let’s move on. 2021 is waiting for us.
2017-08-28, update: 2020-08-26
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, update: 2019-02-25
No Spring til now: Mary Throckmorton, Lady Scudamore, painted by Marcus Gheeraerts in 1614. What was that message about, I wonder? pic.twitter.com/aBE2TxD6oa
— Peter Paul Rubens (@PP_Rubens) January 20, 2019
exquisite. what is she hiding/nursing?
— Christine Bagot (@cm_bagot) January 20, 2019
That's what I was wondering. It looks… furry
— Aphra Pell (@AphraPell) January 20, 2019
Could be a flohpelze or zibellino – could she have been pregnant at the time?
— Sally Hickson (@HalcyonSilks) January 20, 2019
To some those scarfs might look "furry". @AphraPell, it is interesting that you say that, because perhaps that's what Henry Holiday "saw" when he got inspired by Gheeraerts for an illustration to Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark". — https://t.co/DhiHH0Usu0 pic.twitter.com/PtwlHPhmDE
— Goetz Kluge (@Bonnetmaker) January 20, 2019
2/2 Catherine Killigrew, Lady Jermyn, beautifully painted also in 1614 by Marcus Gheeraerts. It’s his day today. pic.twitter.com/l7RDGIEycB
— Peter Paul Rubens (@PP_Rubens) January 19, 2019
inspiration by re-interpretation
(Bycatch from my Snark hunt: Doré probably recycled Doré.)