Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
GREAVES & THOMAS, London, 2001
VAT rate of 17.5% is payable on hammer price plus … Read more
GREAVES & THOMAS, London, 2001

GREAVES & THOMAS, London, 2001
ALICE'S CELESTIAL GLOBE Depicting the Red Kings dream as witnessed by Alice, recalled by Lewis Carroll and illustrated using the artwork of John Tenniel. Prepublication proof 1/1 Greaves & Thomas. London.
An impressive and unique oversize proof copy, 33-inch (83.8cm.) diameter, of a proposed 12-inch diameter celestial globe, wherein the constellations figures are replaced by illustrations from Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, made up of twelve colour printed gores laid to the celestial poles, the cartography based on the celestial gores of Charles Copley, 1852, the equatorial graduated in degrees, hours and minutes, the colures graduated in degrees, the ecliptic graduated in days of the month and of the houses of the Zodiac with twilght zone, the constellations each represented by an appropriate Tenniel illustration from the Alice books (see below), the stars to nine orders of magnitude, with nebulae, and labelled with various numbers and characters according to the astronomer's catalogue of their source, the star chart on one of the playing cards, with a white-painted wooden pawn chess piece finial, resting at the South Pole on a white and yellow painted teacup, on a short brass arm to the turned and carved white-painted stand in the form of a queen chess piece, the base inscribed GREAVES & THOMAS LONDON -- 78in. (198cm.) high, with the accompanying booklet outlining the plan and design of the globe

See Back Cover, Colour Illustration and Details
Special Notice

VAT rate of 17.5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer’s premium.
This lot is subject to Collection and Storage Charges.
Post Lot Text
Sale Room Notice
Please note that the gores on this globe were water-coloured by hand, and not printed.

Lot Essay

Beyond the impressive aesthetic effect of transposing the famous John Tenniel illustrations to Lewis Carrol's works onto a celestial map, Greaves & Thomas have in fact come up with an ingenious set of correspondences between the individual characters in the books and the constellations. No evidence has been found to suggest that Dodgson intended to bring to life the heavens in his books, and indeed such analogies have been drawn between his writings and such diverse sources as Judaism and the Tarot. So no attempt is made to suggest that the correspondences outlined below were deliberate on Dodgson's part, but one should keep in mind the fact that one of the central meesages running through the Alice books, repeatedly restated, is that all life is but a dream; when one dreams in sleep, all the images and events that appear are created by the self, and in the same way, many curious meanings and analogies may present themselves in life, if only one allows oneself to be aware of them. In addition, it should be remembered, when considering the numerous reversals and mirror images presented here, that the term 'Looking Glass' was an early description for a telescope, and that both mirror and telescope reverse the object being viewed (the former through the vertical axis, the latter through the horizontal).

Aquarius, who holds a pot, from which water constantly flows = the Mad Hatter holding his teapot. It appears as though the Mad Hatter's teapot also never seems to stop flowing: there is always tea to be poured, since the guests repeatedly change seats and start again.
Pisces = Fish footmen. Astrologers associate Pisces as being the messenger, which is exactly the task undertaken by these footmen.
Aires = the sheep from the shop. Strictly speaking a ewe, but Alice can see neither horns nor genitals as they are covered by hat and coat.
Taurus = Mock Turtle. Victorians used veal to make Mock Turtle Soup.
Gemini = Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Signs point Alice towards Tweedledee's House and Tweedledum's House, although she never actually sees it. It therefore remains for her an abstract concept like, of course, the "houses" of the Zodiac.
Cancer = Crab from Caucus race.
Leo = The Lion.
Virgo (the Virgin) = Who else but Alice?
Libra = The King of Hearts. He is the judge in the court case and so symbolises the scales of justice.
Scorpio = The Lobster. The main visual difference between a lobster and a scorpion is the tail, and the scorpion's tail in Alice is conveniently obscured by shoes. Early depictions of Scorpio's region were of a "carapacious" (shelled) monster, i.e. not necessarily a scorpion, which gives further credence to the lobster.
Sagittarius = The White Knight. He is inseparable form his horse. On a chessboard, the knight symbolises both horse and rider. A knight has to be trained in all aspects of warfare; archery is one of these skills.
Capricorn = The goat in the railway carriage. Traditionally Capricorn has a fish's tail and no feet, and in the carriage one can see neither tail nor feet.

Andromeda chained = Hatta the queer Anglo-Saxon messenger. Hatta is chained and fortunately for the analogy is wearing a dress (albeit Anglo-Saxon). Both Hatta and Andromeda are chained for no fault of their own.
Argo Navis the Ship = the sheep and Alice in the rowing boat. This represents Jason's ship the Argo; he built the ship to search for the Golden Fleece. And the only boat mentioned in the Alice books has a fleece in it. It also should be noted that images of Jason's ship depict a ram figurehead, and so it is a particularly pleasing coincidence that in the reverse land of the Looking Glass, the sheep this time is at the stern of the boat and making therefore what one might call a figuretail.
Bootes the Herdsman = The Carpenter. While some may charitably think that a shepherd or herdsman is kind to his flock, his ultimate motive is to line his pocket or stomach. The carpenter displays this sad truth of life with great professionalism.
Canis Major the Greater Dog = The Dog.
Canis Minor the Lesser Dog = The same dog has been used as for Canis Major, but scaled down; this is justifiable as it is Alice's size which will dictate the size of the dog when she encounters it.
Camelopardalis the Giraffe = Alice with her neck strecthed out.
Cassiopeia = The White Queen. Legend states that Cassiopeia was placed into the heavens in a compromising position; corolloratively, the White Queen is always showing her petticoat, which in Victorian times was just not done.
Centaurus the Centaur = The Red Knight.
Cepheus = The White King. Queen Cassiopeia and King Cepheus were married to each other, as are the White King and Queen.
Cetus the Sea Monster = The Walrus. Cetes is a sea monster, the walrus is this in both appearance and behaviour.
Chamaeleon = The Tove. This strange creature is the best candidate in the Alice books, as it is changes from a badger to a lizard to a corkscrew.
Corvus the Crow or Raven = i) the raven in the Hatter's riddle and ii) the crow, menacingly, in poem and presence with Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Unfortunately, neither character is illustrated by Tenniel; instead it is depicted here by one of the birdlike items formed from a decanter and two plates (when Alice pulls away the tablecloth).
Crater = A Teacup. A crater is a receptacle for wine or other liquids, although many would doubtless prefer a nice cup of tea.
Cygnus the Swan = The Dodo. Cygnus, before it was depicted as a swan, was described simply as a large bird. In Arabia it was depicted as a chicken therefore it is possibly safe to presume that elsewhere it could also be the Dodo. Which, conveniently, was a nickname of Dodgson's, due to his stammer.
Delphinus the dolphin = The mouse from the pool of tears. Perhaps slightly tenuous, but one must remember that when Alice first encounters the mouse, while swimming, she believes it to be something else (a walrus or a hippopotamus) until she remembers her size and then rethinks what it could be. It is then that she makes it out to be a mouse. It is a shame that Tenniel did not illustrate the porpoise mentioned in the Mock Turtle's poem, as a play on words for 'purpose'.
Draco = The Jabbowocky, naturally.
Equuleus the little Horse = The White Knight. Depicted by Tenniel sliding down a banister, he is here positioned so as to be sliding down one of Pegasus' rockers.
Fornax the Furnace = The Furnace Fly.
Hercules = Father William. Hercules is known for undertaking numerous challenges in order to prove himself. As, of course, is Father William. What is more, one of Hercules' more arduous tasks is to hold the world on his shoulders and give Atlas a break. Father William assumes the same position and accomplishes the task with far greater ease, by standing on his head.
Horologium the Pendulum Clock = The Looking Glass Clock.
Hydra the Water Snake = The Caterpillar, combined with his water pipe.
Hydrus the Lesser Water Snake = The eel that Father William impressively balances on his nose.
Indus the Indian = the man in the railway carriage. He looks like an Indian, especially as "Indian" is an old fashioned way of describing an indigenous person.
Lacerta the Lizard = Bill the Lizard.
Lepus the Hare = the March Hare.
Lupus the Wild Animal = The black kitten. Since the Renaissance this constellation has been depicted as a wolf; however before then it was an unspecified wild beast. The black kitten fits this description and is briefly in the land of the Looking Glass before Alice returns. In fact, a panther is mentioned by Alice when she recites the poem 'Tis the voice of the sluggard'; had Tenniel illustrated this it would surely have been used in preference to the black kitten.
Lynx = The Cheshire Cat. One speaks of being lynx-eyed, as the lynx is such a hard creature to spot - just like the Cheshire cat at times.
Medusa's Head = The Cheshire Cat's head when it makes its body invisible. This imagery is part of the constellation of Perseus (see below).
Mensa the Table Mountain = The Glass table. Mensa is so named after Table Mountain at the Cape of Good Hope, as its meaning in Latin is 'table'.
Microscopium = the Guard with binoculars. He is clearly using them as a microscope because he is looking at Alice from a distance of a few inches.
Monoceros = Unicorn. Perhaps the real crown over which the lion and the unicorn fight is none other than the Zodiac belt. Because the Lion won the fight, there he now sits. The Unicorn being the loser remains banished outside and has no astrological influence as the Sun does not travel between it and the Earth (or in the case of Alice, the land she is on). It is amusing to imagine that the King's crown has twelve points to symbolise this. If so, then the large orb in the centre of the crown is surely the Sun, proving not only that Looking Glass land is free of any interfering church and but that they also subscribe to the Copernican theory of the universe.
Musca the Fly = The Bread and Butter Fly.
Ophiuchus the Serpent Holder = Humpty Dumpty. Serpents are born of eggs, so why should Humpty Dumpty not be harbouring one? Not only this but Humpty also holds Alice's hand - Alice who is called a serpent by a pigeon when she protrudes from the treetops.
Orion the Hunter = The Old Man on the Fence. He hunts for haddock's eyes, crabs and butterflies.
Pavo the Peacock = the Knave of Hearts, seen 'strutting like a peacock'. Here he also has the Tray of Tarts positioned behind him, so that the two figures combined look like a peacock.
Pegasus the winged horse = Rocking Horse Fly.
Perseus = The Executioner. Perseus is famed for cutting off the Medusa's head. This is the executioners' sole job in life and is ordered by the Red Queen to execute the Cheshire Cat, Alice, the Cards, Duchess and croquet players.
Phoenix = The Gryphon. This was not the first choice, the first being the Plum Cake (Lion and Unicorn) as it rises in a fire (oven) and miraculously transforms from mixed ingredients to a cake. However the gryphon/griffin being the more important character in Alice, it has won its place here.
Telescopium = the 'Drink Me' bottle. Alice says herself that she feels like a telescope when she drinks from this.
Triangulum = there are two triangular constellations; for one the King's sandwich is used, for the other the Paperman's triangular hat
Tucana the Toucan = The Borogrove bird. This has a large beak like the toucan.
Ursa Major the Great Bear = the Duchess. This is at first not an obvious representation, but if one looks closely at the myth of the Great Bear, one learns that although Jupiter was married, he had several lovers. His lover Callisto was disguised as the Bear in order that she would not be found. Their son was also disguised as the constellation the Little Bear. 'Duchess' is a colloquial term for a king's mistress as several mistresses to kings became duchesses as a way of incorporating them into the royal court. In Alice the duchess also has a son and also has a tryst with the queen, which is justification enough for her presence here.
Vulpecula cum Anser the Fox and Goose = Bishop and Pawn. The reasoning for this might seem odd until one recalls that there is a game played using a chess board which involves a fox trying to catch a goose. To play this game one uses a bishop and four pawns. Presumably these figures are selected to imply that the church is the sly fox that dupes the geese (pawns) in order to survive in this reality with very little effort.


View All
View All