Books

Illustrator of 'The Moomins' re-imagines Alice in Wonderland

Published

Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland conjures up some of the most exciting imagery in children's literature. But these illustrations by the creator of The Moomins, Tove Jansson, capture the surreal spirit of the books.

Finnish artist Jansson was commissioned to illustrate a Swedish edition of Alice in Wonderland in 1959. She had previously illustrated other famous novel adaptations for Scandanavian audiences, including The Hobbit and another Lewis Carroll novel, The Hunting of the Snark.

Jansson created the Moomins in 1939 - they first existed in a Swedish comic strip. This was later translated into English for the London newspaper The Evening News in 1954.

Several Moomin books were published from the 1940s on, followed by the popular TV series adaptation by a Polish-Austrian company in the 1960s, which was translated into English and shown in the UK during the 1980s.

Today the characters are beloved all over the world, having been adapted into 45 different languages. Jansson stopped drawing Moomins in both comic strip and book form in 1959, but the TV adaptations built their popularity. A French animation company recently released a new Moomins film, with a plot taken from an original comic strip, and there is even a Moomins World in Finland.

Jansson continued to work as an artist throughout the 1950s and 1960s, despite being best known for the Moomin books, and her illustrations of Swedish adaptations of literary works. Her brother Lars Jansson and his son Sophia continued to manage the Moomin legacy, overseeing a TV adaptation in the 1990s. She died in 2001.

The edition of Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Tove Jansson is now a rare edition, but the drawings are a delight for any fan of either the Moomins, or Alice in Wonderland, with Jansson perfectly capturing the surreal and mystical edge to Lewis Carrol's novel. Scroll down to see.