Friday, 27 November 2015

150 years of Alice in Wonderland Exhibition | The British Library

I have loved Alice in Wonderland and everything tea party related for so many years. With countless birthdays being tea parties, dressing up as Alice and even encouraging my now husband to dress up as the Mad Hatter to match for a friends birthday :D. I first saw through facebook that the British Library were holding an exhibition to celebrate the 150yrs since the original book by Lewis Carroll and I knew that I had to go. So many of the events pages stated that tickets were sold out and others said that it was free. Turns out that there was an opening event with speakers and debates that was ticketed with the actual exhibition spanning from December - April which is free and open to the general public. 

Simply walking into the library we were greeted by an extravagant gift shop. I initially decided to go to the library with Leanne to show her their normal gift shop which is amazing. A cross between Waterstones and slightly Urban Outfitters homeware section. But we couldn't resist visiting the Alice in Wonderland Exhibition. I couldn't believe that they created an entirely separate gift shop for the exhibition and couldn't contain my excitement!  

Up the stairs into the central area of the library was the actual exhibition full of original copies of the books, the print blocks used by John Tenniel for his illustrations. A commentary of how the story and visual depth has changed throughout time. Reflecting on the darker interpretations post war and the happy childish innocence of the Disney version. I loved how the original story has stayed also the same since publication but the arts vision and personal interpretation can make it change it so much! We are invited to see people or stereotyped groups from our own lives and put them into the characters in the story.

 Sadly no photography was allowed in the actual exhibit (can you see the people standing looking at glass cases?) but I was able to photograph a lot of the 'pre-exhibition' showcase of graphic design work and interactive installations that summarised the story as you followed the numbered quotes and took soooo many photos of the gift shop. 

This was by far my favourite part of the exhibition. The gift shop was insane! (suitably so.) The whole experience of it was immersive with installation pieces suspended from the ceiling, a trippy floor, so many things everywhere. But so beautifully arranged and the range of products was incredible. Most of them were directly Alice in Wonderland related but then there were ties with flamingos and umbrellas and candles by that flamingo brand and just all the things! It was so wonderful. Seriously. I would come to the British Library again simply to go to this pop up shop. 

While I enjoyed the exhibition itself, it was fairly crowded with a lot of plaques to read and a lot of information to digest. It wasn't as well lit (for obvious reasons) and it was a very quite, stuffy place. The graphic design team did a brilliant job with dressing the exhibition, from posters to wraps with gorgeous typography and 3D hedgehogs, flamingos and an upside down pair of Alice's legs. It was really enjoyable as a whole and I would have loved to have been apart of the creative team working on the exhibition.

And if the photos aren't enough for you, I made a video!

I have started creating short vlog/montage style videos over on my youtube channel, if you would like to follow the along please subscribe. I'll be showing snippets of life as a newly wed, London adventures and figuring out life as a university graduate.  

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