As a child I spent much of my life in hospital. I had to lie on my back, so I used a mirror to see what was going on around me—and as a result, I always saw the world back to front. I also remember being told fairy stories such as Cinderella, Snow White, and many more by the nurses.
Eventually, because I had a mirror, they told me a story about a little girl who went through a mirror herself—that little girl was Alice. At the time, the story of Through the Looking-Glass went a bit over my head, though characters like the Red Queen, and Tweedledum and Tweedledee, stayed in my mind. After this the nurses read me Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. That was it! I just loved that story. I used to think that one day I would sit in a garden and follow a White Rabbit down a rabbit-hole and see all the strange things that Alice saw. I used to look through my mirror, hoping to see Alice so I could follow her.
As the years went by I remained fascinated with Alice. I became a theatrical costumier and staged many fashion shows—and when I did, I always managed to include Alice in some form or other. Eventually I began buying books about Alice and about Lewis Carroll. And by then, it was clear that I was really hooked.
Ever since I was a child I have always drawn and painted, deeply interested in art—so much so that on closing down my theatrical costumier business I became director of the Liverpool Academy of Arts, a post I still occupy today. My illustrations for Alice began with a single work: “The Mad Tea-Party”. This was soon joined by others—and after I had held an exhibition of this first group and saw them all hanging on a wall together, I felt inspired to complete a full set of illustrations for the story, work which occupied me off and on for a further two years.
After a local magazine, Cheshire Life, published an article about my illustrations, Ken Oltram from the Daresbury Lewis Carroll Society contacted me and asked if I would like to give a talk at one of their meetings. I did, and soon both my husband David and I joined the Society. We are still members to this day.
I have held many exhibitions displaying my illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and have dressed up as the Queen of Hearts to attend many Mad Tea-Parties with many Hatters. One day I hope to start illustrating Through the Looking-Glass—that should keep me busy for a few years!
Since Alice has been such a big part of my life, I would like to thank Lewis Carroll for all the pleasure he has given to me, and to so many people all over the world.
Finally, I couldn’t finish without also thanking Michael Everson for publishing this edition with my illustrations.