A Starry Map

Source of the map: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MODIS_-_Great_Britain_-_2012-06-04_during_heat_wave_(cropped).jpg

Source of Henry Holiday's front cover illustration to Lewis Carroll's 'The Hunting of the Snark': https://snrk.de/snarkhunt/

John Tufail’s “The Illuminated Snark” (p. 15) lead me to this comparison. In 2004 he interpreted the starry night sky in Henry Holiday’s front cover illustration to Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark” (1876) as a map, where the white clouds represented land with rivers. I liked the suggestion, but did not find any real-world map to which Holiday might have alluded. Holiday engraved that illustration himself.

I discovered John Tufail’s paper in 2009. Only today, after 15 years, I got the idea to compress and flip a large segment of a map of the British isles vertically. That’s my “slowness in taking a jest”. You see the result. Sadly, I can’t tell John that anymore. I appreciated his guidance a lot. The white clouds weren’t the land, but as for a map having been hidden in the illustration, John was right.

For comments: reddit: r/LewisCarroll, r/Maps, r/MapPorn

2024-05-12, update: 2024-06-25


Who was first?
※ Gustave Doré’s illustration to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”,
※ Henry Holiday’s book cover design to Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark”.

2024-06-17 (Henry Holiday’s 185th birthday)

When the Queen met the Boojum

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.

It took me several years to find another map to which Henry Holiday might have referred as well.


2017-08-28, update: 2024-05-12


Here the Bellman is Father Time ringing his bell.

The image on the lower right side is an allegorical English School painting (ca. 1610, by an unknown painter) of Queen Elizabeth I at old age together with the allegories of Death and of Father Time.

The upper left side is a depiction of the Bellman from Henry Holiday’s front cover illustration to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876).

A few years after I had found this painting, I recognized, that not only Henry Holiday’s Bellman looks like that unknown painter’s Father Time, But also the posture of the old queen and the old man are similar.



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2018-10-11, updated: 2023-08-20

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