'Alice and the White Rabbit' – Surrey, England - Atlas Obscura

'Alice and the White Rabbit'

This sculpture combines the literary Alice with her real-life inspiration.  

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Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, spent his last years in Guildford, Surrey. Carroll, whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, is even buried in Guildford. So it’s no wonder that there are several Alice-related spots throughout the town.

One monument to the town’s literary associations can be found on the lawn by the River Wey. Titled “Alice and the White Rabbit,” it was created by local sculptor Edwin Russell in 1984. It depicts the book’s famous beginning, in which Alice follows a talking rabbit into a hole, leaving her older sister behind. The girl figures were modeled after the daughters of Russell’s friend, and the rabbit’s model was chosen from 500 white rabbits from a local farm.

One of the sculpture’s most notable traits is Alice’s bob-cut, short-fringed hair, a relatively uncommon depiction of the character. Her sister is also depicted as a young girl, unlike the 1951 Disney film and some modern illustrations. Noticeably, the White Rabbit is depicted as a realistic animal instead of an anthropomorphized version.

The girl sculptures were likely meant to evoke the real-life Alice Liddell, one of the major inspirations behind the literary heroine, as well as her namesake. Liddell was a brunette, unlike her Wonderland counterpart, and famously sported a short-fringed bob when she was a child. Her older sister, Lorina, was about three years her senior. 

Although the sculpture is not considered a top tourist spot in Guildford, it has been a popular playing area for local children since its installation. If you’re an avid fan of Alice, this plain-but-unique literary monument is a must-see.