Alice through the Antrim Street glass

A number of Sir John Tenniel's famous illlustrations feature at Carrickfergus Civic Centre . INCT 10-757-CON
A number of Sir John Tenniel's famous illlustrations feature at Carrickfergus Civic Centre . INCT 10-757-CON

Illustrations of some of the most enduring characters from children’s literature form a new exhibition which opens in east Antrim this weekend.

A selection of Sir John Tenniel’s images for Lewis Carroll’s books ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ’Through the Looking-Glass’ will be on show at Carrickfergus Museum and Civic Centre from Saturday, March 21.

Places have already been snapped up for a screening of acclaimed director Tim Burton’s film version of Alice in Wonderland at Carrick Town Hall tomorrow (Friday) evening, which includes a preview of the exhibition.

A political cartoonist for Punch magazine, Sir John was approached by Lewis Carroll in 1864 with the request to illustrate a small nonsense book for children.

The initial story told the story of the little girl who dreamt that she went down a rabbit hole into Wonderland where she met the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the King and Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle, the Cheshire Cat and found herself in some weird situations.

Published as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the tale was an instant hit with children and adults alike as was the sequel Through the Looking-Glass published seven years later.

From the very start it was agreed that a major part of their success was due to the unique and imaginative illustrations supplied to the text by John Tenniel.

The display at Carrickfergus Museum and Civic Centre is a selection of the best illustrations from both books (about half of the complete number) in which the creative genius of both Carroll and Tenniel is shown at its best.

The original drawings were made on wooden blocks and then engraved by commercial engravers in London and the prints on show at the centre are perfect examples of the skill of both illustrator and engraver.

‘Looking in Wonderland’ will run at the Antrim Street venue until May, 4 (10.00am - 4.00pm).

Visitors to the venue can also see ‘Wooden Ships & Iron Men’ in the Community Archive.

The exhibition examining the history of Carrickfergus shipyard and the influence shipbuilder Paul Rodgers had on the industry in Carrickfergus has been created by local history enthusiast Christopher Kenny. It continues until April 30.