Mervyn Peake’s Alice, 30 June to 29 September 2010, Western Bank Library

The University of Sheffield presents Mervyn Peake’s Alice In association with the British Library.

The Mervyn Peake´s Alice exhibition, curated by Professor Vanessa Toulmin and Karen Middlemast, is brought to Western Bank Library by an exciting collaboration between the University of Sheffield and the British Library.

Photo: Mervyn Peake's Alice

Early in 2010, the British Library acquired the archive of Mervyn Peake with support from The Art Fund, Friends of the British Library, Friends of the National Libraries and individual donors. Dating from 1940 through to his death in 1968, the archive represents the majority of Peake´s literary output. One of the highlights of this archive is a set of original illustrations produced by Peake for Alice´s Adventures in Wonderland. We are pleased to present the drawings in the Western Bank Library exhibition gallery, the first time they have been displayed since the acquisition of the archive. The exhibition will also feature several unpublished rough sketches.

Writer, artist, poet and playwright, Mervyn Lawrence Peake (1911-1968), is perhaps best known for his gothic masterpiece, the Gormenghast trilogy, though during his extensive career he produced illustrations for many classic stories including, Household Tales (1946), Treasure Island (1949), and Swiss Family Robinson (1950).

The Alice drawings were produced in 1946 during Peake´s residence on the island of Sark. They capture the whimsical but dark world of Wonderland and show the influence of Peake´s time spent in Germany in 1945, towards the end of Second World War.

The Department of Special Collections has mounted a complementary exhibition in their display cases on Level 4 to coincide with the new Mervyn Peake´s Alice, exhibition. Material selected includes publications for which Peake was illustrator, as well as editions of his own works.

The University of Sheffield Library is indebted to Sebastian Peake for his help and enthusiasm in providing details of his father´s life and work.

Don´t miss the new adaptation of Lewis Carroll´s Alice in Wonderland by Laura Wade with original music by David Shrubsole at the Crucible Theatre, Thursday 17 June – Saturday 24 July 2010. Box Office 0114 249 6000. sheffieldtheatres.co.uk.

Images produced with kind permission of the British library and the Mervyn Peake Estate.

Photo: Mervyn Peakes's Alice


Photo: Mervyn Peake's Alice


Photo: Mervyn peake's Alice


Photo: Mervyn Peake's Alice


Photo: Mervyn Peake's Alice


Photo: Mervyn Peake's Alice