Alice in process…

Instead of the question “Who is Alice?” there are now paths leading to what Alice might come to be…

27 Oct 2010

Harmony in Yellow and Gold: The Gold Girl Connie Gilchrist (1873)

Alice by Salvador Dali

This is a scuplture of Salvador Dali inspired on his amazing illustrations for Alice in Wonderland (HERE). French scholar Hugues Lebailly has suggested, quite convincingly, that the appearance of Alice created by Salvador Dali is based on a young Victorian variety performer by the name of Connie Gilchrist who had a short period in the limelight with her novelty skipping hope dance. Lewis Carroll admired her and many artists painted, drew and photographed her.

Know more about Salvador Dali's Alice HERE

James McNeill Whistler, 1877

"Connie Gilchrist (1865–1946) was both an artist's model and a performer on the English music hall and vaudeville circuit. In 1877, when she was twelve years old, she became a "Gaiety Girl." Her obituary in the New York Times noted: "She made her stage debut . . . in a skipping rope dance at the Gaiety Theatre in London, taking the fashionable frequenters of the place by storm, her ingenuousness capturing all hearts, especially in contrast to the precocious cynicism of her stage dialogue." When the author and photographer Lewis Carroll saw Gilchrist perform in January 1877, he called her "one of the most beautiful children, in face and figure that I have ever seen." In this lifesize canvas, Whistler depicted Gilchrist performing her rope-skipping routine on stage. The curtain is inscribed with her name at the upper left and his butterfly monogram at the lower right. The portrait reveals Whistler's dual interests in recording his model's likeness and creating a harmonious arrangement, this one based on a golden monochrome inflected with only three small red accents in Gilchrist's lips and the jump-rope handles."

Found HERE

Lewis Carroll, 1877

There are 14 references to Connie Gilchrist  in Vol 7 of the Diaries of Charles Dodgson and several in Richard Foulkes's Lewis Carroll and the Victorian Stage: Theatricals in a Quiet Life, but no images. One of the colored pictures is in the Rare Books Room, University Libraries, Pennsylvania State University, but is not online.  According to Taylor and Wakeling's Lewis Carroll, Photographer, he took 8 pictures of her in April, 1977, and they (or the plates at least) are now at the Art Institute of Chicago, which, fortunately has one of them online here. LC & Vic. Stage is online if you want to read about them. Another good article about their relationship is here, page 13, although it is contradicted by Wakeling and others.

thanks to Mark Burstein.

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