The Beaver in Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting ot the Snark"

One of the members of the Snark hunting party in Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark (1876) is a Beaver, who spends a lot of time with lace making, which, in the view of the Barrister is an "infringement of right".

This perhaps is one of the reasons why Carroll's Snark ballad is called nonsense. Actually, Carroll called it nonsense himself, but Henry Holiday (the illustrator) categorized the poem as a "Tragedy". I think, that even the "lace making" is an allusion which Holiday and Carroll wanted to address.

Carroll's and Holiday's book probably is full of allusions to historical people.

    285    But the Butcher turned nervous, and dressed himself fine,
    286        With yellow kid gloves and a ruff--
    287    Said he felt it exactly like going to dine,
    288        Which the Bellman declared was all "stuff."

As I already found some allusions to paintings of Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder and Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, I searched for some paintings with yellow gloves. I found the gloves, and some skarves - which then had been re-interpreted by Henry Holiday in a quite whitty way. I call this image "Inspiration by Reinterpretation". Here the Snark illustrator Henry Holiday (engraver: Joseph Swain) reinterpreted two paintings Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.

  • [left]: Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger: Catherine Killigrew, Lady Jermyn (1614)
  • [right]: Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger: Mary Throckmorton, Lady Scudamore (1615)
  • [center]: Henry Holiday: Segment of an illustration to Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark
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