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Picture of BobHale
I just posted this on FB but for those of you who don't use it I thought I would repost it here.

Well I am having an exciting National holiday week. On Sunday I had a haircut and yesterday I had my ears cleaned. It's all go, isn't it? Actually that's not the reason I'm posting. I'm posting to remind myself to stop going into the bookshop on the ninth and tenth floors of SKP in Xian because I always seem to walk out with Alice In Wonderland books in Chinese that at some stage I am going to have to post home because they will be too heavy to carry. I did it again yesterday. Two new editions with illustrations by Andrea D'Aquino and Manuela Adreani. I could wait until I return to England and track down English copies but where's the fun in that?
Rather than take pictures I'll link the google image searches where you can see them in rather more glory.

Andrea D'Aquino

Manuela Adreani

Click on any of the pictures to see them properly,
Anyway, a couple of brief reviews. I have various oddly illustrated editions in my collection but these, especially the D'Aquino rank right up there with the oddest. Let's take the Adreani first though. It's an oversize book (36x28 cm) which, combined with a lot of double page spreads means the art can be seen in a form that would actually make some damned good posters. I sat in the bookshop looking at it and thinking that if they had had two copies I'd have bought the second one to do just that and have my own private Alice Art Gallery. The pictures are highly stylised and the colour palette runs to lots of dark greens and russet shades which lends the book a marvellous uniformity of style. It's like no edition that I have seen before both in its stylistic choices and in which scenes she has chosen to illustrate. I love seeing new takes on the art for Alice and this is not just illustration... this is Art! With a capital A.
The D'Aquino is also Art with a capital A. Even more so, in fact. It won't be to everyone's taste. The images are combined watercolour and collage and are in some instances bafflingly difficult to work out but it rewards the effort. This is wonderful for art lovers to have in a book but I would love to see the originals in a gallery. I imagine it would be quite difficult to get me to leave. I'm not completely sure that this edition would be suitable for children though, on a number of levels. First the images are unlikely to appeal to younger readers. They are often dark and not, on a first look, very realistic. It's the wrong word, I know but they lack even the cartoon realism that the brighter editions have. Instead they have a gloomy, sometimes sinister look to them with distorted figures occupying ominous landscapes. Even the cover shows an impossibly tall and thin Alice bent into a U-shape falling into a green morass that simultaneously evokes ideas of fungus covered flora and reaching, grasping hands. The artwork in this book is a creative tour-de-force.
If every edition I bought had the same artistic level as these two I would be a happy man and "Alice-painting" would be a separate recognised genre in itself. Damn, I wish I could see the original works rather than just the books. And, on reflection, I don't think that I will stop visiting that bookshop.

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
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Picture of Kalleh
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They are beautiful, Bob. So glad you reposted here because I don't read FB that much, nor do I like it that much. I am just sick of it, and not only for political reasons (but partly because of that).

I just love book shops, don't you? Ordering books on Amazon just doesn't do it for me. I want to browse and sit and read a bit. I'll spend more on the books to do that. Just my luxury, I guess.
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