Thursday, 8 December 2011


Lovely: Henry Holiday, 'The Snark'. This is an unpublished pencil drawing for The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll (1876). The sheet size is 20.3 x 20.95 cm. I found it in an article by Sarah Hamilton Phelps called 'The Hartley Collection of Victorian Illustration', Boston Museum Bulletin (1972), 56-67. I particularly like the sketches of the snark-hunters' heads around the margin.

This representation of the Snark as a sort of giant whale was never used, as Phelps reports: 'because Carroll "had made the Snark strictly unimaginable and wanted him to remain so." Holiday says of his own drawing in a letter to Hartley: "You may rely on my drawing being strictly accurate. I pledge my word that I have never met with anyone however critically disposed who was able to prove a single fault in it."'

1 comment:

goetzkluge said...

This Snark image may be an allusion to a monster by J. J. Granville.

It is said that Carroll "suppressed" Holiday's Boojum, but I think that between these two gentlemen that is not the right term.
"[...] One of the first three [illustrations] I had to do was the disappearance of the Baker, and I not unnatuarally invented a Boojum. Mr. Dodgson wrote that it was a delightful monster, but that it was inadmissible. All his descriptions of the Boojum were quite unimaginable, and he wanted the creature to remain so. I assented, of course, though reluctant to dismiss what I am still confident is an accurate representation. I hope that some future Darwin in a new Beagle will find the beast, or its remains; if he does, I know he will confirm my drawing. [...]"
(Source: Henry Holiday (1898): The Snark's Significance)