Snark too Dark

On the left side of this image comparison you see a scan (source: of Henry Holiday’s illustration to the final chapter The Vanishing in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. It already is a quite faithful reproduction of the original illustration.
        In prints made by Ian Mortimer (for a limited edition of The Hunting of the Snark published by Macmillan in 1993) from John Swain’s original woodblocks, the illustration has better quality, but looks even darker. That is as faithful to the original as it can get.

I think that in the original printing, the dark areas of the illustration grew wider than it was intended by Henry Holiday. It looks as if too much black ink spilled into the white areas. Therefore I scanned the illustration from my own 1st edition of The Hunting of the Snark. Then I grew the white areas a bit. (First I enlarged the image by 2:1. Then I applied GIMP → Filters → Generic → Delate. After that I scaled the image back to its previous size.) You see the result on the right side.

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Seven Coats

021     There was one who was famed for the number of things
022         He forgot when he entered the ship:
023     His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,
024         And the clothes he had bought for the trip.

025     He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
026         With his name painted clearly on each:
027     But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
028         They were all left behind on the beach.

029     The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
030         He had seven coats on when he came,
031     With three pairs of boots–but the worst of it was,
032         He had wholly forgotten his name.

Nine Snark Hunters

There is no tenth member in Henry Holiday’s illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. I think that the Snark hunting party consists of nine members only. Let us take them in order of their introduction:

  1. The Bellman, their captain.
  2. The Boots, a maker of Bonnets and Hoods
  3. The Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes, but repeatedly complaining about the Beaver’s evil lace-making.
  4. The Broker, to value their goods.
  5. The Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense, might perhaps have won more than his share.
  6. The Banker, engaged at enormous expense, had the whole of their cash in his care.
  7. The Beaver, that paced on the deck or would sit making lace in the bow and had often (the Bellman said) saved them from wreck, though none of the sailors knew how.
  8. The Baker, also addressed by “Fry me!”, “Fritter my wig!”, “Candle-ends” as well as “Toasted-cheese”, and known for joking with hyenas and walking paw-in-baw with a bear.
  9. The Butcher, who only could kill Beavers, but later became best friend (as shown in the illustration below) with the lace-making animal.


2017-11-06, edited: 2018-05-27

Page 83

Examples for advertising the 1st edition of “The Hunting of the Snark”, then offered for €200 and more:

First edition, first printing, with “Baker” for “Banker” on page 83.

First issue with “baker” not “butcher” on page 83. It is unknown how many copies were printed this way.

This is about line 560 on page 83, the last page of Lewis Carroll’s tragicomedy. All copies are printed this way. And in Henry Holiday’s illustration on page 82 you can see the Baker.

So there is nothing special about “Where the Baker had met with the Snark.” Those rare book traders just don’t check the facts.

Then there is the JubJub. If you read somewhere that the bird never will look at a “bride”, then better check line 386 on page 55 in the original Snark edition.

The Broker and the Monk

In this image one of the elements has been marked (blue frame) which Henry Holiday borrowed from a 17th century painting (by an anonymous artist). This might be a bit different from the borrowing described by T. S. Eliot in 1920. The borrowing ot the pictorial allusion is inconspicuous. It doesn’t enrich Holiday’s illustration. It’s only purpose might be that of a signpost pointing to another work of art.