Watch those fingers: The photo has been “photoshopped” (by Henry Holiday or Joseph Swain?) already many years before I worked on it using GIMP. Holiday’s tinkering with the little finger and the thumb of his left hand might be a “Victorian craze“.
The image shows Henry Holiday and segments of one of Henry Holiday’s illustrations (cut by Joseph Swain) to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. The segments show the Bonnetmaker and a bonnet.
The Bonnetmaker drawing could be a little self portrait of and by Henry Holiday. However, the photo is several years older than Holiday’s illustrations to The Hunting of the Snark. Perhaps it is a portrait taken by Joseph Swain or a self portrait taken by Henry Holiday quite a few years after the Snark was published. Henry Holiday was younger when he illustrated Carroll’s Snark tragicomedy.
Henry Holiday and the Bonnetmaker have one thing in common: They are creative artists. So is Joseph Swain, who engraved that illustration. How did his face look like in 1876?
Such little self portraits have a long tradition.
In German there is term “Assistenzfigur”. That is a person positoned in the background or beside the main person or main object depicted in a painting. You may think of such a person as the static version of a “film extra” in a movie. She or he serves a a kind of helper or assistant. Sometimes one of these extras is the artist who made the painting. In German we call such an image in the image an “Assistenzselbstbildnis” or “Assistenzselbstbild” or “Selbstbildnis in Assistenz”. Perhaps the first known self-portraits in assistance where a kind of signature of the artist.
The “self-portrait in assistance” first became available since the 14th century to master builders and sculpturer, shortly after that in Italy also to fresco painters, and since the 15th and 16th century also to painters of large altar- and panel paintings; see Raupp, S. 8
Source (in German): Footnote on p. 162 in Suzanne Valadon – Identitätskonstruktion… (2001) by Valeska Doll referring to Untersuchungen zu Künstlerbildnissen und Künstlerdarstellungen in den Niederlanden im 17. Jahrhundert (1984) by Hans-Joachim Raupp.
In that matter there also are references to Raupp in Melanie Munduch: Die Selbstbildnisse Luca Giordanos (2012)
For diskussion of the finger “photoshopping”: Twitter
Original post: 2017-09-28. Update: 2020-06-01
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
- [left]: Illustration The Crew on Board by Henry Holiday to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876)
- [right]: Crossing the Line (1839), based on a print by Thomas Landseer, after Augustus Earle. You will find the print in Robert Fitz-Roy’s Narrative of the surveying voyages of HMS Adventure and Beagle, Vol II (1839).
This is of of the comparisons where am not so sure whether Holiday alluded to Landseer’s print. If it is, then you might wait a little bit before you look at my spoiler where I marked possible(?) clues given to us by Holiday.
2017-11-08, updated: 2019-06-16
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.
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.
Quote: C.L. Dodgson, @DodgsonDiaries on Twitter
2017-08-28, updated: 2019-06-08
The Bellman and Charles Darwin.
As for Darwin’s beard see also: Charles Darwin’s wild whiskers in From Charles Darwin’s beard to George Eliot’s right hand: 4 famous Victorian bodily quirks
In an early preparatory draft, the Bellman had a quite different face. Henry Holiday later used that face (an Oxford colleague?) in another illustration.
2017-08-27, updated: 2019-05-30
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:
- 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: 2018-11-07
It’s National Poetry Month? Nonsense!
[…] April 9, 2018
[Author: Matt Dilworth] mdilwort
[…] Yet nonsense poems, and Carroll’s in particular, often carry significant political undertones. For example, in Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark”, he tackles vivisection and the role of anthrocentrist activities in scientific pursuit. […]
Yes, I thought so.
2018-04-29, shifted to the top 2018 posts: 2018-12-21
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
Need I rehearse the history of Jowett?
I need not, Senior Censor, for you know it.
That was the Board Hebdomadal, and oh!
Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow!
Lewis Carroll, from Notes by an Oxford chiel (1874)
※ John Tufail, The Jowett Controversy
※ Karen Gardiner, Escaping Justice in Wonderland (abstract, 2018)