Art Owned by Charles Dodgson


It is well documented that Dodgson had a great appreciation for the fine arts and owned a number of original works. Some of these were hanging in his rooms at Christ Church. This section gives some basic information about a few of these painting. Eventually we will expand this section and include images of the painting.

The Lady with the Lilacs, Arthur Hughes, 1863

Possibly a study for Hughes’ “Silver and Gold”

Arthur Hughes (1830-1915), painter and illustrator, studied at the Somerset House School of Design and the Royal Academy Schools, adopted the Pre-Raphaelite principles of “truth to nature”. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1856 to 1908, his chief pictures being The Knight of the Sun and Home from Sea . He also illustrated a number of books by Tennyson, Christina Rossetti and George MacDonald. His children were Arthur Junior, Amy, Agnes and Emily.

The painting remained in the Dodgson family until it was sold at auction, when it was bought for the Osborne Collection, Toronto.

Dodgson’s diaries record:

31 July 1863: “... went on to Mr Hughes’. He was setting off next morning for Brighton. I arranged to take the little picture he is painting (about which Mr MacDonald had spoken to him) ...”

8 October 1863: “... Mr Munro and Mr A. Hughes came in afterwards, and Mr Hughes told me that the picture I bought of his is finished, and we arranged that he should bring it (as well as his children to be photographed) to the MacDonalds’ on Monday.”

12 October 1863: “Mr A. Hughes came over to be photographed with his children, and brought the picture I bought of him sometime ago, the lady with the lilacs.”

Minnie Morton, Sophie Anderson, 1864

The works of Sophie Anderson (1823-1903) were much admired by Dodgson. In June 1864 he purchased his first picture from her, Minnie Morton, later discovering that the model was Florence Braithwaite (b. 1852), daughter of a friend. He subsequently asked the artist to make a copy of the painting so that he could give it to his sister, Mary, as a wedding gift in 1869.

The painting was also photographed by Dodgson, image no. 1503

Dodgson’s diaries record:

21 June 1864: “Then called on Tenniell [sic], who agreed to the change of page. Then at the Andersons in Hammersmith (calling at the MacDonalds on the way to take some of the children with me. Mary, Greville, Irene, and Winifred came). Mr Anderson was engaged, but Mrs A. showed us some lovely pictures of hers, one of which I bought.”

16 July 1864: “Went to Hammersmith to pay Mrs Anderson for the picture I bought the other day.”

6 April 1869: “My picture of ‘Minnie Morton’ (which I have given to Mary as a wedding present) is now with Mrs Anderson, to be copied. And two other pictures are at Mr. Heaphy’s, nearly finished, one the “Dreaming of Fairy-land,” which he has altered greatly (the original attitude was awkward and unintelligible), the other of a child’s head, which I had noticed as a rough sketch, and which he has turned into an infant St. Cecilia.”

Girl with Lilacs, Sophie Anderson, 1865

Dodgson’s diaries record:

6 July 1865: “Paid another visit to the Royal Academy, then to the Andersons, where I saw several beautiful pictures, and gave Mr Anderson some hints on the perspective of a picture of his, which will lead to his altering it a good deal. I bought a little picture by Mrs Anderson, of a child’s head in profile: the original was in the house, and was called into the room, a beautiful child about 12, Elizabeth Turnbull by name. I intend taking a photograph of her in the same attitude as the picture.”

Waiting to Skate, Alice Emily Donkin from a photograph by Dodgson

Dodgson’s photograph of Alexandra “Xie” Kitchin (1864-1925) dressed as a Dane was a particular favourite; he had many copies printed and often gave them as gifts to friends. Alice Emily Donkin (b. 1850) was later inspired to use the photograph for her painting Waiting to Skate which Dodgson hung in his rooms at Christ Church.

Dodgson’s diaries record:

14 May 1873: “Photographed Xie in winter dress (Danish), in red petticoat, and in Greek dress.”

14 January 1874: “Walked into Tonbridge Wells with Rivers, and ordered at Robinson’s Cherrill’s two enamel copies of Xie as “Dane,” one for Mrs Kitchin.”

26 January 1874: “Called on Mrs. Kitchin, with Barclay Thompson, and took her the photo of Xie as “Dane” coloured by Miss Bond.”

2 February 1874: “Received from Robinson and Cherrill, of Tunbridge Wells, two “enamel” copies of the head of Xie as “Dane.” (They look like porcelain, but the picture is buried in, and is said to be not liable to fade.”

4 February 1874: “Sent Mrs. Kitchin one of the two “enamel” portraits.”

Other Pictures

“Dreaming of Fairy-Land” by Thomas Heaphy (1869)

“St. Cecilia” by Thomas Heaphy (1869)

Painting of a dog by Micheal [sic] Angelo Lowther (1821). Click Here for more details.


This page is based on material supplied by Edward Wakeling. Additional material has been supplied by Mark Richards and Roger Scowen.