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Lot #544
Charles Dodgson

The Alice in Wonderland author’s childlike sense of fun emerges in a letter to a friend

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The Alice in Wonderland author’s childlike sense of fun emerges in a letter to a friend

British author, mathematician, and photographer (1832–1898) who, under the pen name Lewis Carroll, published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, two of the most popular and durable classics in the canon of children’s literature. ALS signed “C. L. Dodgson,” one page both sides, 3.5 x 5.5, June 21, 1889. Dodgson writes to Lucy [likely his artist friend Lucy Walters]. In full: “Can you keep a secret? And will you? (Oh, I’ve learned my lesson now! I know it’s not one bit of use asking the first question by itself!) I want you to tell me the name & address of that rather nice child of Mr. Herkomer, to whom I showed some photographs, and not to tell anybody that I have asked!” In addition to his literary activities, Dodgson was an avid photographer from the early decades of the emerging art until 1880, during which time he became especially known for his portraits of such well-known artistic and literary personalities as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Alfred Lord Tennyson, and of young female subjects, including Alice Liddell, the inspiration for his most famous series of books. “Mr. Herkomer” was evidently artist Sir Hubert von Herkomer (1849–1914), who ran an art school in Bushey, Hertfordshire, England, and who produced a well-known posthumous portrait of Dodgson. Dodgson’s diary entry for June 13 of the same year notes that “Lucy Walters had sent me a ticket for the ‘Herkomer’ play [an amateur stage production] at Bushey.” Ink on first page a subtle shade lighter than remainder, and a hint of mild handling wear, otherwise fine, bright condition. A wonderful window into Dodgson’s child-like sense of fun. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RRAuction COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #356 - Ended April 14, 2010