‘Move One Place On’
A curious statue fit for a mad tea party.
“I want a clean cup,” interrupted the Hatter: “let’s all move one place on.” While the Houston suburb of Bellaire may seem a world apart from Lewis Carroll’s whimsical fantasyland, it is home to what could possibly be the most elaborately detailed sculpture inspired by Alice in existence, one that even rivals the famous statue in New York’s Central Park.
Titled Move One Place On, after an obscure line uttered by the Hatter in the seventh chapter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the sculpture in question can be found nestled in the quiet corner of Evelyn’s Park. It recreates the Mad Tea Party from the chapter with a touch of realism, starring Alice, the Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse half-asleep in a teapot, as well as the Cheshire Cat with his infamous grin.
But not only that, visitors are in for surprise after surprise if you look just a little closer. Take the Hatter’s chair, for example, its front legs are flamingo mallets used in the Queen of Hearts’ cricket game, its backrest has the knitting old Sheep carved on it, and above her is a little crab, which references Alice’s literal misinterpretation of the rowing term catching a crab. At the end of each armrest is a head, one of the Lion and another of the Unicorn.
More characters from the two Alice novels are hidden in the details and in plain sight, both iconic and obscure. Smaller details include the tiny “Drink Me” bottle in Alice’s pocket, the chessboard on the bench, and statuettes of characters like Humpty Dumpty, the White Knight, and the Caterpillar hidden under the table.
Another detail worth mentioning is the Hatter’s teapot, with “UTAH 1975” written on the bottom of it—a clear reference to the Newell teapot, a 3D test model well-known in the computer graphics community as a sort of in-joke. After all, Lewis Carroll was quite fond of in-jokes.
Created in 2018 by local sculptor Bridgette Mongeon using 3D technology, the Move One Place On sculpture contains a total of 150 elements from the books, challenging visitors to quite an Easter egg hunt. And, of course, you may join Alice and the denizens of Wonderland for a mad tea party under the hot Houston sun.
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