Bessie Pease Gutmann – Toddler Alice


Bessie Pease Gutmann (1876-1960), an American illustrator, famous for her illustrations of toddlers. Her Alice in Wonderland was first published in 1907 (followed by her ‘Through the Looking glass’ out in 1909).
Read more about her here

sadly, I don’t have her ‘Looking Glass’ edition. I do have the ‘Wonderland’ 1907, one. However, a wretched child, “painted” in many of the black and white illustration, with absolutely no talent at all. I do have one big clue to who that child was, as there’s a gift inscription to Lois, from her aunt and uncle. However, when Michael Corleone, asks Hyman Roth, who gave the order to kill Frank Pentangeli, Hyman Roth gets angry, and says, that when he heard about Moe Greene’s fate, he didn’t ask who gave the order. So, i’m not asking who colored those pages. This is the life that we’ve chosen. some of these Alice editions have been loved and adored by children, that should be 100+ years old. Although as a Lewis Carroll book collector, I’d much rather have my books be in pristine condition, this reflects directly on the price, and I do recognize that there is some charm in seeing that a book has been read and loved.

Pease’s Alice is a toddler, and a toddlers world. The characters are mostly sweet and friendly. Her Gryphon looks like a harmless Gecko.
Some of the characters are illustrated with a realistic take (mock turtle looks like a turtle, the caterpillar is a caterpillar).
The way she’s chosen to portray the Wonderland staff, and soldiers as headless cards, is a bit freaky in a way though.
A note about the way the colored images are viewed here, they come out looking pointalized, due to how they were printed. It’s sub optimal, but then, the colored-in b&w ones, make them look great in comparison.
Let’s dive into the book’s illustrations.

Title page. Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, Bessie Pease Gutmann. Published by Dodge Publishing Company.

The White Rabbit off to Wonderland. See how some child colored his coat in red? That’s their best work in this book. You’ll see…

The Causcus race animals

Alice speaks to the Dodo, with the rest of the Caucus race crew around

Alice in the White Rabbit’s house, growing rapidly. Note that font under the colored images, somewhat medieval, isn’t it?

Alice’s giant hand, startling the Rabbit.

The Puppy

Alice and the Caterpillar, that look like your average caterpillar

The Footmen

Pig and pepper, dishes. Why illustrate the fun-most scene with the Duchess, the Cheshire cat, the cook, and Alice, if you can just do the dishes?

The Pig baby

The Cheshire cat

The March Hare house

A Mad tea party with the Hatter and the March hare (hey where’s the dormouse, Gutmann?)

Some headless cards for you

Alice and the gardners

Alice with the Gryphon and the Mock turtle

Alice and the Gryphon

Must be the executioner, with a couple of the Queen’s thugs

The White rabbit at the trial

The trial, with the White rabbit, the Queen and King

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