I was lucky enough recently to indulge in a city break to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne; or as you’ll more likely hear it called locally, The Toon. Newcastle is notorious as a party city but is much more than that. A thriving arts and culture scene, shopping to suit all tastes and budgets, eating and drinking opportunities galore .There are a ton of reasons to put Newcastle at the top of your To-Visit list, and you can expect future blog posts to cover all aforementioned and more! The draw for me on this occasion? The Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the city’s Laing Gallery.
It’s probably safe to say we’ve all heard of Alice in Wonderland. But do you know how Lewis Carrol created his nom de plume? Who the real Alice was? The connection between Lewis Carrol and Beatrix Potter? This whimsical, fantastical British Library exhibition with additional loans from the Victoria & Albert museum covers all of this and a whole lot more. For the record, Carrol invented his pen name by inverting his first and second name, translating them into Latin and back to English; The real life Alice was a little girl named Alice Liddell who convinced Carroll to make up the original Alice story to pass the time on a boat trip and some of Beatrix Potters early work includes illustrations of the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. So now you know, if you didn’t already.
The entire exhibition is beautifully put together and informative, with a range of illustrations and exhibits on display ranging from the charmingly quirky model Dodo dressed with pigeon feathers to the more funky and contemporary . A psychedelic poster of the White rabbit was a particular favourite of mine.
Not only are Lewis Carroll and the origins of his best known book celebrated here, but also the way the story of the girl who went ‘down the rabbit hole’ has continued to influence and inspire artists, film makers, designers and even commercial advertising for 150 years. As it is kindly requested that visitors refrain from taking photographs within the exhibition (I did take a few before I realised this- my bad! ) I don’t have a lot of images to share with you….but that just makes this even more of a must-go-and-see-for-yourself attraction. If your ready for refreshment after spending some time exploring the world of Carrol and the stories of Alice, you will find a rather nice café on the ground floor of the gallery. No Mad Tea Parties here, though.
Good to know…. I flew to Newcastle International Airport from Dussledorf with Lufthansa. The Alice in Wonderland exhibition runs until the 2nd of October. The Laing Gallery is centrally located within Newcastle city centre and within easy walking distance of both Haymarket and Monument metro stations. Although entrance to the Laing Gallery is usually free, there is an admission charge for this exhibition, charges and opening times can be found here. The exhibition is family friendly, but not aimed at young children. There is an under fives area located within the gallery for younger visitors.