Henry George Liddell

Jun 7, 1855: 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.

C.L. Dodgson, @DodgsonDiaries on Twitter

  • Upper inset: Henry Holiday’s depiction of the Billiard marker (wearing a slipped wig?) in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876). From John Tufail I learned that in Henry Holiday’s illustration the Billiard-marker is about to cheat.
  • Background: Henry George Liddell (painted by Sir Hubert von Herkomer in 1891, probably based on a photo). Liddell was Carroll’s (Dodgson’s) superior in Christ Church, Oxford. He also was the father of the “real” Alice, so to speak. As for the time line, of course Holiday could not have alluded to this painting (of which a vectorized grey shade version is shown here). (There also is a photo.)
  • Lower inset: The comparison shows Henry Holiday’s first preparatory depiction of the Billiard marker in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. In that draft the face on the right side is Henry George Liddell’s face at a younger age. Here both noses look quite similar.

I think that in his first draft, Henry Holiday quite clearly alluded to the image of the young Liddell when he created his depiction of the Billiard marker. However, as Liddell was the boss of C.L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), I could imagine that in the view of Dodgson the similarity was too clear. Thus, the final depiction of the Billiard marker was ambiguous enough not to get Dodgson/Carroll into trouble.


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The Snark hunting party

2017-09-13, update: 2024-02-06

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