Alice through the display cabinet glass: US museum pays £1,625 for rare photo of the girl who inspired Lewis Carroll’s classic Wonderland novel
- Photo of Alice Liddell stood next to her younger sister Edith has been sold
- The young girl is believed to have inspired Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland
- Was unearthed in a photo album attributed to Scottish family from the 1860s
A photo of the girl who inspired Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s novel Alice in Wonderland has sold for £1,625 after being discovered in a 150-year-old family photo album.
The photo, which shows a stern-looking young Alice Liddell in a smart dress stood next to her younger sister Edith, was unearthed in a Scottish family’s photo album from the 1860s.
The album belonged to the McCorquodale family, whose name can be traced back to Argyll in the Highlands.
The descendants of the McCorquodale’s married into Princess Diana’s family during the 20th century.
The album has now been bought by the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, after a bidding war with London-based Chiswick Auctions.
A photo of the girl who inspired Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s novel Alice in Wonderland has been bought by the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston in Texas
The photo was unearthed in a Scottish family’s photo album from the 1860s and is attributed to the ‘McCorquodales’, a name that originates to Argyll in the Highlands
It was valued at £600, but fetched a hammer price of £1,300, with extra fees taking the final figure to £1,625.
Carroll, who real name was Charles Dodgson, was born in Daresbury, Cheshire, in 1832 and was one of eleven children born to Rev Charles and Frances Jane Dodgson.
In 1851, he studied mathematics at Christ Church at the University of Oxford and by 1855, he was a fellow lecturing in mathematics.
He later grew close to the dean of Christ Church, Henry George Liddell, and his wife, who resided at the college with their daughter Alice.
He went on write his most famous work, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, in 1865, before going on to write The Hunting of the Shark in 1876.
The writer often took pictures of Alice Liddell and is believed to have given his heroine the name ‘Alice’ in his 1865 book after the young girl – but scholars disagree about the extent to which the character was based upon her.
From 1858 to 1862, Carroll’s interest in Alice Liddell also become the subject of intense gossip at Oxford, with suggestions that he had even proposed marriage.
Austin Farahar, specialist at Chiswick Auctions, said: ‘Images of Alice and Edith Liddell are always very rare and very interesting to find.
The album was valued at £600, but fetched a hammer price of £1,300, with extra fees taking the final figure to £1,625. Pictured: A boy seen in the pictures poses at various stages of his childhood
Austin Farahar, specialist at Chiswick Auctions, said images of Alice and Edith Liddell are always very rare to find. Pictured: Members of the family in the album are seen posing with their horses
Pictured: Alice and Edith Liddell’s names are written in the photo album which has now sold for £1,625
Lewis Carroll, who wrote Alice in Wonderland, was an early photography pioneer who grew very close to the Liddell family
Carroll wrote his most famous work, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, in 1865
‘The relationship between Carroll, the Liddell family and the wider network of 19th century scholars, artists and authors who were working at the time is fascinating.
‘Carroll captured the imagination of the masses with his most famous book, Alice in Wonderland, a story he originally recited to the Liddell sisters during a boating trip in Oxford in 1862.
‘To see a photograph of the girl that inspired the author is always going to appeal to a mass of both literary and photographic collectors.
‘It is also notable that the album belonged to the McCorquodale family, and the descendants of the McCorquodale’s married into Lady Diana Spencer’s family during the 20th century.
‘This album came from a large cache of new-to-market material from a private British collection that has been compiled over the last 50 years.’
The album also contains late 19th century photos of members of the British Royal family.
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