The Pennyroyal Press: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Published in 1982, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was Moser’s 60th book, but the first project that he had done on this scale. He had been commissioned to do wood engravings for the Albion Press’ Moby Dick in 1979 and it convinced him he could tackle a large and complex project on his own. He conducted a survey of friends, artists, collectors, and book dealers as to what project they would most like to see and Alice was chosen overwhelmingly (save a few voices that said Do anything, just DON’T do Alice!)
Dark and whimsical, it was a far cry from Tenniel’s well known little blonde girl. Moser’s Alice is a mischievous brunette with hair getting in her eyes. She’s about 9, just about the age that little Alice Liddell would have been; Lewis Carrol’s niece and the inspiration for the book. Also just about the age of Madeline Moser, Barry’s youngest daughter and model for the Pennyroyal Alice.

The book won Moser the 1983 American Book Award for design.

Go here to see available engravings and sketches from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Moser was commissioned by the Albion Press in 1978 to produce engravings for their fine press edition of Moby Dick. Upon completion, it occured to Moser, Jeff Dwyer, and Harold McGrath that they would be able to do projects on the same scale and with equal craftsmanship.  After doing some basic market research in which they asked various booksellers around the world what title they thought they could best sell, they decided to do Alice. A commentary was commissioned by one of America’s leading Victorianists, James Kincaid and with the lack of a definitive text, Moser sought out a leading authority, Selwyn Goodacre, to put together an experimental text, based on Carroll’s corrections to his original text.

The project was both a commercial and a critical success, winning the American Book Award for Design in 1982.

The book has seventy-five wood engravings engraved by Barry Moser and printed by Harold McGrath with a complete set of prints enclosed.  It was bound by Grey Parrot in half-leather.

Limited to 350 signed and numbered copies.  To each book, R. Michelson Galleries has added one of the original concept pencil drawings.

View a playlist of videos of Moser talking about the many Alice and Through the Looking-Glass characters at our 30 Year Anniversary exhibit in 2012. They will play in succession

Visit our YouTube page to scan the list of videos.