Harry Rountree – The second Alice

Harry Rountree

Once upon a time, there was a very talented illustrator, born in New Zealand, that moved at the tender age of 23 to London, where his talent could be recognized. He created not one but two complete and different sets of Alice in Wonderland illustrations. The first was published in 1908. The one I’ll write this post about, was published around 1928. His name was Harry Rountree (1878-1950)
Was there ever an illustrator to create two different sets of illustrations of the same book? and why? I’m guessing he preceded Taylor Swift, and due to copyright and royalties, Rountree found himself in a position where he wanted to create another, different, set of Alice illustrations.

Harry Rountree - 2 Alices
Harry Rountree’s two Alices – The one from the first edition (1908) is on the right side.
The one from the later edition (1928) is on the left side. While the first edition Alice seems to be more Art Nouveau is style, the later one seems to be more modern in a way, and stylized to the late 1920’s

Let’s dive into the book. While I do believe I have the 1928 edition here somewhere, and I’ll add it to this post, or a new one later on, I’ll dedicate this post to the following edition that doesn’t have its year of publication printed anywhere. It’s just that I recently got it, and it’s far prettier than any other Rountree Alice edition that I own.
The cover with Alice and the Duchess, with the Baby on her lap, from The ‘Pig and Pepper’ chapter. It’s a pretty big book, with thick pages, and an abundance of black and white illustrations with 5 colored plates.

A side view of this book

Pre-title page with the angry pigeon

Over the next page, Alice by the screaming Queen

The first colored plate appears right at the beginning, beside the title page. It’s of Alice and the White Rabbit, when he’s confusing her as his Mary Ann.

Title page. Published by ‘The Children’s Press’, London and Glasgow

The startled White rabbit, after seeing Alice.
Appears on the first page of chapter 1, Down the Rabbit’s hole

Alice, down the Rabbit’s hole, thinking she’s now somewhere in New Zealand or Australia with Kiwi’s around her (here’s where it appears in the book). An illustration of a scene that I can’t recall seeing elsewhere, and is part of what I love about collecting the Alice in Wonderland books by the odd illustrators, they sometimes pick out scenes no one else is portraying. Rountree, in this edition, goes far and beyond many others with picking out these scenes, seldomly illustrated. The next illustration is also one of those rarely illustrated scenes.

“Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats?” and sometimes, “Do bats eat cats?” (go here for this line in the book)

Children that get eaten up by wild beasts and other Victorian era life lessons. (go to ‘Wild beasts’ line in the book)

‘Eat me’ scene, Alice opening out like a telescope.

 The Rabbit started violently

The mouse leaping out of the water

““I beg your pardon!” said the Mouse, frowning, but very politely: “Did you speak?””

A long tail

The Canary, hurrying away her children after Alice’s insensitive Dinah’s stories
“Why, Mary Ann, what are you doing out here? Run home this moment, and fetch me a pair of gloves and a fan! Quick, now!”

Alice in the White Rabbit’s house

“There goes Bill!”

“An enormous puppy was looking down at her with large round eyes”

Alice and the puppy

One last puppy

Advice from a Caterpillar

Father William, standing on his head

Bill the Lizard, recovering from Alice’s kick. While this scene precedes the Caterpillar scene, it’s placed in the book after the first ‘Father William’ illustration.

Father William balancing a snake on his head

Alice and the Caterpillar discussing proper heights

Alice and the Pigeon

The Pigeon perceiving Alice as a Snake out to get her eggs

Alice peeping from the bushes

The Footmen

One of the Footmen

Pig and Pepper – The Duchess, the cook, and the baby

The cook, tossing things

The Duchess throwing the baby up in the air

A Mad Tea Party, one of my personal favorite tea party scene illustrations. It enfolds the way I imagine it, the Hatter as a red nosed, cheerful person, pouring tea from quite a distance, the March hare dressed up and talkative, and the Dormouse, sleeping. Alice trying to make some sense from all of it. The Mad Tea Party Trio seem to be drunk, and completely out of their minds, but not in a threatening way.

The Cheshire cat

The Cheshire cat smiling

The March Hare dipping a pocket clock in his tea

The Dormouse repeating the Hatter’s ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’ poem

Dormouse telling the story of the three sisters that lived down in a well

Three sisters down in a treacle well. Rountree made them out to be mermaid-like.

Hatter and March-hare tormenting the poor Dormouse

I admit that im not entirely sure who this guy is

“Off with her head!” screamed the Queen. Alice looks a bit different then in other illustrations, doesn’t she?

The Gardners, painting the roses

Oh dear, the gardners heads are off in a basket
Alice and the flamingo in the Croquet ground

The king and the Cheshire cat, having a moment

Alice and the Duchess, that is way-too-close to her

When pigs fly

The Lobster Quadrille. Alice, the Gryphon, and the Mock Turtle

The Gryphon

The Mock turtle

Unsure who this guy is

A fish and a snail


Hello fly

The White Rabbit at the Trial

Who stole the Tarts – the guinea-pigs putting the poor dormouse in a bag

Is that the dormouse giving a testimony?

The dormouse, oh what a poor guy, getting kicked out

Bill the Lizard as a juror

The End – The White Rabbit


    1. Hi June, I can tell you that I got my copy for apx. 45 GBP a couple of years ago on ebay.
      As the condition can vary the price considerably, im guessing it’s range would be in the 25 – 150 GBP, (poor to excellent).

  1. Hi, thank you for sharing information about your collection with other Alice-fans. It is really interesting to find out, that Rountree created two different sets of illustrations, I suspected this and now found the confirmation. But he is not the only illustrator with such an achievement. Grahame Baker-Smith has created two different sets in 2015 and 2021. Oleg Lipchenko (of Ukrainian origin, now lives in Canada) also has two different sets of “Alice” ( 1991 and 2007) and Rene Clok has illustrated four sets of Alice – it’s a record for years

    1. Hi Serhij.
      Thank you. I was not aware of Grahame Baker-Smith and Oleg Lipchenko having two sets of illustrations.
      As for Cloke I have 2 different editions of her Alice’s. I have heard she has 4 (!) different sets of illustrations, as mentioned here, however, I’m yet to see the other 2 versions myself.

  2. Hello from Australia, We are keen collectors of Alice and enjoy your site very much and have learned a lot from it. I have recently collected the Alice in Wonderland above 1928 Harry Rountree and have discovered a discrepancy in the illustrations contents page. All the 4 other colour plates are on different pages to the ones listed. The contents says page 65 for the first one and mine is on 55; 80 is on 70; 97 is on 87; 112 is on 102. Have you come across this before? We love to hear from you regarding this anomaly. Regards Dianne

    1. Hello Dianne,
      What a lovely comment, thank you very much. I truly appreciate it!
      While I haven’t come across the specific anomaly you decribed, I can’t say that im surprized.
      There were soooo many Alice’s printed after its copyrights became public, that some were published hastly, without a lot of care.
      All the best to you and yours,

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