As I mentioned in my last post, I just spent two weeks in England, and of course on the top of my list of places to see was Oxford, birthplace of Alice in Wonderland. Right off the bat when we arrived in the city, we started seeing Alice references:

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Then we began our Alice tour in earnest. We visited Folly Bridge, where Lewis Carroll and the Liddell girls set off on their boat ride down the Isis that fateful day, and Carroll began spinning the tale of Wonderland.

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We stopped at Alice’s Shop, a wonderland of souvenirs set in the very same shop that Alice used to visit when she lived there, the inspiration for the Sheep Shop in Through the Looking Glass.

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And then we went across the street to Christchurch College, where Lewis Carroll (under his real name, Charles Dodgson) studied and taught, and where he first met Alice, the daughter of the dean, Henry Liddell. Guided by a booklet we picked up at Alice’s Shop, we toured the campus and found many Alice-related things.

a very Alice-looking door in the garden wall

a very Alice-looking door in the garden wall

Tom Quad - Alice walked through this frequently

Tom Quad – Alice walked through this frequently

Door to the Deanery

door to the Deanery

statue of Henry Liddell

statue of Henry Liddell

Christchurch Cathedral, stained glass designed by Edward Burne-Jones, the Binsey Treacle Well (a place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages)

Christchurch Cathedral, stained glass designed by Edward Burne-Jones, the Binsey Treacle Well (a place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, inspiration for the treacle well in the book)

Christchurch Cathedral, stained glass designed by Burne-Jones and made by William Morris, memorial for Alice's sister Edith who died tragically on the day of her engagement announcement - the central figure is St. Catherine, but is said to resemble Edith

Christchurch Cathedral, stained glass designed by Burne-Jones and made by William Morris, memorial for Alice’s sister Edith who died tragically on the day of her engagement announcement – the central figure is St. Catherine, but is said to resemble Edith

The dining hall at Christchurch College (also the inspiration for the dining hall in the Harry Potter movies) - setting for the rest of the following photos

The dining hall at Christchurch College (also the inspiration for the dining hall in the Harry Potter movies) – setting for the rest of the following photos

portrait of Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll

portrait of Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll

these strange figures in the fireplace are said to be the inspiration for the scene in the book when Alice's neck grows very long (and the bird cries "Serpent!")

these strange figures in the fireplace are said to be the inspiration for the scene in the book when Alice’s neck grows very long (and the bird cries “Serpent!”)

stained glass in the dining hall featuring Wonderland characters

stained glass in the dining hall featuring Wonderland characters

stained glass with portraits of Carroll and Alice

stained glass with portraits of Carroll and Alice

The next day, I got my long-awaited Alice-themed tattoo. After mulling over many possibilities in the months beforehand – including some of the Tenniel illustrations of my favorite scenes, and even some of Carroll’s own illustrations of the characters – I finally decided on just a simple bit of text (as I’ve got text tattoos for my other favorite stories). To encapsulate the Girls Underground theme, I chose “Down, down, down” – obviously from Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole – written in Lewis Carroll’s own handwriting from the original Alice’s Adventures Under Ground manuscript, along the curve of my ankle.

The tattoo shop I chose just happened to be across the street from Christchurch College, and the studio was on the second floor, so as I had his words tattooed on me forever, I got to look out over the buildings Lewis Carroll himself lived and worked in. It was pretty amazing. Here it is:

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And a scan of the original text:

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And thus completes my Alice adventure in Oxford.

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