Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lewis Carroll and Xie

This charming photograph is one of three albumen print portraits of Alexandra ("Xie") Rhoda Kitchin (Wiki bio here) by Lewis Carroll that were sold recently by Bonhams for £24,000.

Alexandra (1864-1925) was the daughter of Rev. George William Kitchin, who for 15 years held a theological position at the University of Oxford, where Carroll, a fellow of Christ Church, lectured on mathematics. Kitchin later became Dean of Winchester and Dean of Durham. Alexandra was named for her godmother Alexandra, Princess of Wales, wife of Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward VII). 

The three photos show Alexandra in Danish and Oriental costumes. They were given to her by Carroll’s brother, William, on the occasion of her marriage to Arthur Cardew in 1890, along with a copy of The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll, in which two of the photographs are reproduced.


Helmut Gernsheim, Lewis Carroll, Photographer (Dover Publications, 1969) 


Hermes said...

Its so hard to 'judge' these pictures through 21st century eyes. I've argued elsewhere that Dodgson wasn't a paedophile but at least one of the pictures of Xie almost certainly wouldn't be published today.

Kristan Tetens said...

Hi Hermes, I agree with you. I make no judgement about the photos beyond their aesthetic appeal.

Ashley said...

My goodness. I love what you're doing here. The Victorian Era is something I'm very much interested in learning more about, but I tend to overwhelm myself. I can tell your blog is going to be an amazing resource. Keep on keepin' on!!

Kristan Tetens said...

Thanks, Ashley, I'm glad you like it! For more on the Victorian era, check out my Facebook page ( and Twitter feed (Tetens).

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