Saturday 31 August 2013

Three bottles for the 'Alice' books

Three bottles - illustrations by JVL for Lewis Carroll's Alice books

Left to right: 
Rowlands Macassar oil bottle (Looking-Glass);
Sal Volatile bottle  (Looking-Glass);
A blue bottle (Wonderland).

Friday 30 August 2013

'Eat Me' and 'Drink Me'

'Eat Me' and 'Drink Me', two illustrations by JVL in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Artists' Choice Editions, 2009.

Here are the two relevant passages in the book 

Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under
the table:  she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on
which the words `EAT ME' were beautifully marked in currants.
`Well, I'll eat it,' said Alice, `and if it makes me grow larger,
I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep
under the door; so either way I'll get into the garden, and I
don't care which happens!'

There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door, so she
went back to the table, half hoping she might find another key on
it, or at any rate a book of rules for shutting people up like
telescopes:  this time she found a little bottle on it, (`which
certainly was not here before,' said Alice,) and round the neck
of the bottle was a paper label, with the words `DRINK ME'
beautifully printed on it in large letters.

 It was all very well to say `Drink me,' but the wise little
Alice was not going to do THAT in a hurry.  `No, I'll look
first,' she said, `and see whether it's marked "poison" or not';
for she had read several nice little histories about children who
had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts and other unpleasant
things, all because they WOULD not remember the simple rules
their friends had taught them:  such as, that a red-hot poker
will burn you if you hold it too long; and that if you cut your
finger VERY deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had
never forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked
`poison,' it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or

Thursday 29 August 2013


'Dice', an illustration in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Artists' Choice Editions, 2009.

The sum of two sets of six dice equals 42.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

The pebble game

The pebble game, an illustration by JVL in The Pink House, Ink Parrot Press, 2002.

This represents the game in which you throw a pebble up into the sky and throw a second one immediately afterwards, hoping to hit the first one.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

'The Old Man of Corfu'

'The Old Man of Corfu', an illustration by JVL in The Nonsense Verse of Edward Lear
Jonathan Cape, 1984 and reissued in 2012.

This drawing is a portrait of Edward Lear himself, rushing about in a bewildered state about the environs of Corfu.

Here is the poem:

There was an Old Man of Corfu,
Who never knew what he should do;
So he rushed up and down, till the sun made him brown,
That bewildered Old Man of Corfu.

Monday 26 August 2013

Two Logo Designs

A logo design for Rosemary Sandberg Ltd, an agency for writers and illustrators.
Designed by JVL in 1991

A logo design for the Ditchling Health Centre Support Group
Designed by JVL in 1991

Sunday 25 August 2013

'The Old Man of the Coast'

'The Old Man of the Coast', an illustration by JVL in The Nonsense Verse of Edward Lear
Jonathan Cape, 1984.

Friday 23 August 2013

'The Old Man of Ibreem'

'The Old Man of Ibreem', an illustration by JVL for The Nonsense Verse of Edward Lear
Jonathan Cape, 1984.

Thursday 22 August 2013

'The Old Person of Hove'

'The Old Person of Hove' an illustration by JVL in The Nonsense Verse of Edward Lear
Jonathan Cape, 1984

Wednesday 21 August 2013

'When griping grief the heart would wound'

'When griping grief the heart would wound', a notebook drawing by JVL, 10 August 2013.

This drawing includes the first two verses from Richard Edwards' rather fine part-song 'When grypinge griefes'. It is an apt evocation of how music can soothe our troubled minds. The poem was partly quoted by Shakespeare in his play Romeo and Juliet (Act 4, scene 5). Edwards was born in Somerset in 1524 and died in London in 1566. On the right is a part self-portrait.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

'A Maze, HCE and ALP'

'A Maze, HCE and ALP', a notebook spread drawn by JVL, 9 September 2011.

Monday 19 August 2013

Saturday 17 August 2013


'Happenstance', a double-page spread from JVL's notebook, 12 July 2011.

Friday 16 August 2013

Thursday 15 August 2013

'Box characters'

'Box characters', drawings by JVL in a notebook dated December 1973.

Sunday 11 August 2013

'BA Association Self-validation'

'BA Association Self-validation', a notebook drawing by JVL drawn during a meeting 
of the BA Graphics Association on the 21st of May 1976.

Saturday 10 August 2013

'£$€, Ladder and Poppy heads'

'£$€, Ladder and Poppy heads' a notebook drawing by JVL, May 2012.

I have always thought that £$€ would be an appropriate acronym for the £ondon $chool of €conomics

Friday 9 August 2013

The White Knight's Box

The White Knight's Box, an illustration by JVL in Through the Looking-glass
Artists' Choice Editions, 2011, page 92.

[The White Knight] was dressed in tin armour, which seemed to fit him very badly,
and he had a queer-shaped little deal box fastened across his
shoulder, upside-down, and with the lid hanging open. Alice looked
at it with great curiosity.

'I see you're admiring my little box.' the Knight said in a friendly
tone. 'It's my own invention -- to keep clothes and sandwiches in.
You see I carry it upside-down, so that the rain can't get in.'

'But the things can get OUT,' Alice gently remarked. 'Do you know
the lid's open?'

'I didn't know it,' the Knight said, a shade of vexation passing over
his face. 'Then all the things much have fallen out! And the box is
no use without them.' He unfastened it as he spoke, and was just
going to throw it into the bushes, when a sudden thought seemed to
strike him, and he hung it carefully on a tree. 'Can you guess why I
did that?' he said to Alice.

Alice shook her head.

 'In hopes some bees may make a nest in it -- then I should get the

Tuesday 6 August 2013

The train carriage from Through the Looking-Glass

The train carriage from Through the Looking-Glass, an illustration by JVL 
in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, Artists' Choice Editions, 2011.

The text:

'Tickets, please!' said the Guard, putting his head in at the window.
In a moment everybody was holding out a ticket: they were about
the same size as the people, and quite seemed to fill the carriage.

'Now then! Show your ticket, child!' the Guard went on, looking
angrily at Alice. And a great many voices all said together ('like the
chorus of a song,' thought Alice), 'Don't keep him waiting, child!
Why, his time is worth a thousand pounds a minute!'

 'I'm afraid I haven't got one,' Alice said in a frightened tone: 'there
wasn't a ticket-office where I came from.' And again the chorus of
voices went on. 'There wasn't room for one where she came from.
The land there is worth a thousand pounds an inch!'

'Don't make excuses,' said the Guard: 'you should have bought one
 from the engine-driver.' And once more the chorus of voices went
on with 'The man that drives the engine. Why, the smoke alone is
worth a thousand pounds a puff!'

Alice thought to herself, 'Then there's no use in speaking.' The
voices didn't join in this time, as she hadn't spoken, but to her great
surprise, they all THOUGHT in chorus (I hope you understand what
THINKING IN CHORUS means -- for I must confess that _I_ don't),
'Better say nothing at all. Language is worth a thousand pounds a

 'I shall dream about a thousand pounds tonight, I know I shall!'
thought Alice.

All this time the Guard was looking at her, first through a telescope,
 then through a microscope, and then through an opera- glass. At
last he said, 'You're travelling the wrong way,' and shut up the
window and went away.

'So young a child,' said the gentleman sitting opposite to her (he was
dressed in white paper), 'ought to know which way she's going,
even if she doesn't know her own name!'

A Goat, that was sitting next to the gentleman in white, shut his
eyes and said in a loud voice, 'She ought to know her way to the
ticket-office, even if she doesn't know her alphabet!'

There was a Beetle sitting next to the Goat (it was a very queer
carriage-full of passengers altogether), and, as the rule seemed to
be that they should all speak in turn, HE went on with 'She'll have
to go back from here as luggage!'
Alice couldn't see who was sitting beyond the Beetle, but a hoarse

voice spoke next. 'Change engines -- ' it said, and was obliged to
leave off.

 'It sounds like a horse,' Alice thought to herself. And an extremely
small voice, close to her ear, said, 'You might make a joke on that --
 something about "horse" and "hoarse," you know.'