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The Hunting of the Snark


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About my Snark hunt

About my Snark hunt
===== How I got into Snark hunting =====

In December 2008, I searched for “Hidden Faces” in the Wikipedia. I wanted to see whether an illustration by Henry Holiday (left) to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark was mentioned there. (Now it is.) But instead of that I found Gheeraert's Allegory of Iconoclasm (right, aka The Image Breakers) in the Wikipedia article on hidden faces. And then I saw a little rhombic pattern in the “mouths” of the “heads” depicted in both illustrations. The Snark hunt had begun.

left:
2009: Illustration by Henry Holiday to fit the eight in Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark
(This is the 2007 version of an image in ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/carroll/lewis/snark/#fit8.)

center:
2008-12-16: Detail from "Hidden Faces" in en.wikipedia.org,
en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hidden_faces&oldid=258354510

right:
Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder, Allegory of Iconoclasm, c.1566–1568 etching 15” x 10.4”, British Museum, London.
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gheerhaets_Allegory_iconoclasm.jpg
(In December 2008 the image was smaller: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/archive/f/f5/20100214083045!Gheerhaets_Allegory_iconoclasm.jpg, but even there you can see the detail which cought my attention.)

Holiday and Gheeraerts I
(The blur is intentional. It removes unecessary details.)

15 comments - The latest ones
 Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge club
===== My first "Snark comparison" =====
Snark Hunt: Square One

Illustration by Henry Holiday to The Hunting of the Snark (1876) and The Image Breakers (1566-1568) by Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder.

This is the first comparison which I made between a Snark illustration by Henry Holiday and another image. A second discovery followed. That is how the Snark hunt started in December 2008. At that time my dealing with Holliday's illustration perhaps was a bit too playful and some matches marked in this comparison are questionable. But it was a good start.

Improved version:
Holiday and Gheeraerts I
6 years ago. Edited 6 years ago.
 Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge club
===== How did I learn to know about The Hunting of the Snark? =====

I work as an engineer in the semiconductor industry and became increasingly interested in mental workload issues in the high tech industry as part of my involvement in labor issues. In the year 2005, I incidentally found an illustration (ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/carroll/lewis/snark/#fit5) by Henry Holiday to Lewis Carroll's Snark ballad which showed a workplace that had a quite high potential for ergonomic improvement.
h50
The illustration (www.snrk.de/snarkhunt/?newpics=no#353) can be used to depict various workplace hazards. It also shows all the unpleasant distractions which you don't really need during mentally challenging work. And teaching ((x+7+10)×(1000-8)/992)-17 with x=3 to a beaver is mentally challenging. (You may want to try it for other x.)

So I started to use that illustration for my work in the works council of my company. I also entered the illustration into some Wikipedia articles. And from there it made its way to Forbes online magazine (2013):
Snarked Workplace

High resolution vector graphics: www.academia.edu/attachments/36020688/download_file?s=work_strip
6 years ago. Edited 5 years ago.
 Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge club
===== From using the Snark to reading the Snark =====

After some time I got interested in the whole poem. It was easy to find online:
ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/carroll/lewis/snark. I forked their Snark edition, added line numbers, Carroll's dedication to Gertrude Chataway and Carroll's Easter Greeting, which he tipped in at front end paper of the first Snark editions in April 1876.
Easter Greeting

My forked online edition is www.snrk.de/snarkhunt/. (eBooks Adelaide have improved their site. The images still are bad. I offered them to use my scans.) I also bought myself an old edition of The Hunting of the Snark. I read it several times, which already may be difficult for English readers, but surely is very challenging for a German.

But as in 1876 the book was sold as a childrens' book, I thought that the pictures should help to explain the text. As I always was interested in the fine (more or less) arts, I looked closer at the illustrations. So, like so many other readers before, I "discovered" the hidden face in Holiday's illustration to the last "fit" of The Hunting of the Snark.
h80
6 years ago. Edited 5 years ago.
 Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge club
===== How I got into Snark hunting =====

So here we are again: The "hidden face".
Look into their Mouths

In December 2008, I searched for “Hidden Faces” in the Wikipedia. I wanted to see whether an illustration by Henry Holiday (left) to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark was mentioned there. (Now it is.) But instead of that I found Gheeraert's Allegory of Iconoclasm (right, aka The Image Breakers) in the Wikipedia article on hidden faces. And then I saw a little rhombic pattern in the “mouths” of the “heads” depicted in both illustrations. The Snark hunt had begun.

Yes, this comment is similar to the one at the top of this page.
6 years ago. Edited 5 years ago.
 Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge club
===== Why took it >130 years to discover Holiday's Snark allusions? =====

First: Maybe I am wrong. The allusions may be illusions.

Second: For the largest part of those 130 years there was no Internet. You had to walk to those images in order to see them. And prints were not cheap. But in 2008 I only needed a computer and access to the WWW. And I had tools to prepare images for comparison quickly.

Third: Perhaps I am not the first Snark hunter who discovered Henry Holiday's Snark allusions. Alfred Parsons may have discovered and continued Henry Holiday's game already in the year 1882:
The Uncle over Darwin's Fireplace
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨ by Alfred Parsons (1882) ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨ by Henry Holiday (1876) ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
6 years ago. Edited 5 years ago.
 Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge club
===== Thanks to those who helped =====

Finally, I want to express my thanks to John Tufail and to Mahendra Singh (another Snark illustrator):

John's hint in his "Illuminated Snark" to a map which may be hidden in the front cover of the Snark guided me to the "Ditchley portrait" (Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger). I could relate it to the front cover illustration to Carroll's poem. This also gave me an idea to search for art which may have influenced the back cover illustration.
The Hunting of the Snark

Mahendra's encouragement in early 2009 after he saw my first (and lousy) comparison got me going. As for allusions to other's work of art, the Canadian Indian German cryptomorphist at that time(but unknowingly) already worked like Henry Holiday (even though he doesn't like Holiday's illustrations too much). The difference: Holiday never talked about his allusions. Singh does so quite openly. Both artists have in common, that they not only create illustrations, they also teach how to see. Also it was Mahendra who drew my attention to the "Bone Player".
While he rattled a couple of bones
6 years ago. Edited 5 years ago.
 Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge club
===== Informatics and Mathematics =====

My use of informatics and mathematics has been mentioned in some comments on my Snark hunting.

Yes, I use computers and mathematical principles, but I neither invented the application of computer graphics to the analysis of drawings and paintings, nor did I invent using topology for such a comparison.

Computer graphics: I am just lucky that there is the GIMP. I just use it, the maths behind e.g. the Retinex filtering has been done by others. As for peoneering the application of computer graphics to arts, my thanks goes to Lillian Schwartz.

Mathematics: There often is a relation between Holiday's illustrations and the sources to which these illustarions are an allusion, which I call "topological match" (see a later comment). But that just is a term which I use to give this relation a name. I dont use any metrics etc. to quantify the "strength" of a match.
6 years ago. Edited 6 years ago.
 Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge club
===== All Nonsense? =====

If you want to be on the safe side, then claim that The Hunting of the Snark is complete nonsense. That claim is cool and difficult to reject.

But the nonse may be not that complete: u1.ipernity.com/38/77/73/27197773.d636613a.xls?download=SnarkedPersonalities.xls

In the table,
Bellman, Boots, Baker, Butcher, Beaver, Banker, Barrister, Bonnetmaker, Broker, Billard marker, Hope, Care, Snark and Boojum
are associated with
Charles Darwin, Thomas Cranmer, St. Corbinian, The Bard, George Liddell, Benjamin Jowett, Henry Holiday, God (not to be depicted by the illustrator), Father Time (allegory), Religion (allegory), Liberty (allegory).

Further associations:
- 42 boxes: 42 Articles of the Anglican Church
- Baker's 7 coats: 7 sacraments
- Baker's 3 pairs of boots: Trinity
- Jubjub: a clock, a chronometer, or time in general
- Breakfast at five-o’clock tea; breakfast at location with ca. OxfordTime+8
- Bathing machines: Dr. James Gully's water cure (Darwin)
- Lace making; dissection, vivisection (used by Darwin)
- Forks: tuning forks (Darwins experiments with spiders)

CLD's contemporaries in Henry Holiday's Snark illustrations?:
- Charles Darwin and the Banker
- Charles Darwin and the Bellman
- Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) on the rocks
- Henry Holiday and the maker of Bonnets and Hoods
- Benjamin Jowett and the Butcher
- Henry George Liddell and the Billiard-marker

There also is a docoment, which you could call a table of references and allusions.
6 years ago. Edited 5 years ago.
 Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge club
===== Dubious =====

Tree of Life
Here I probably went a bit too far. Holiday's depiction of a weed surely looks similar to Darwin's sketch of what later has been called "Tree of Life", but as far as I know, reproductions of Darwin's sketch were published in the 19th century earliest.

Nevertheless, I do believe, that Darwin's On the origin of species by means of natural selection (1859) and especially The descent of man and selection in relation to sex (1871) had an impact on Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark (1876).
The Bellman and Charles Darwin
6 years ago. Edited 6 years ago.
 Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge club
===== Evidence =====

But there also is evidence for matches not being incidental:
The Broker's and the Monk's Nose (with a little help)
Similarities between the shapes can be incidental. But Henry Holiday also largely maintained the relation of these five shapes to each other. I call this "topological match".

There are several examples for such a match.
I put them in a special group:

6 years ago. Edited 6 years ago.
 Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge club
=== The Snark hunt didn't end yet ===
Grünewald and Holiday
5 years ago. Edited 5 years ago.
 Paulimus J
Paulimus J
fascinating. what do the hidden images mean?
5 years ago.
Götz Kluge club has replied to Paulimus J
The simplest explanation is: Henry Holiday wanted to have fun. First there is the fun to hide things. And secondly there is the fun in creating conundrums for the beholders of your images - who (once they get the idea) have fun themselves in searching the images which contain the elements which Holiday borrowed in his illustration.

In textual art you have the same thing. Ask Tom Stoppard why he packed so many little references to the work of other writers into his own dramas.

In the following images the shapes borrowed from the bone player painting probably only have one meaning: They are a kind of pointer from Holiday't illustration to the bone player painting in order to confirm the relation between both images. Beyond that there may be no other hidden meaning at all:
Two Bone Players

Fun is reason enough for Holiday's game with his audience and perhaps also with other artists. But some images may have "meaning" beyond fun. Holiday may have tried to support the reader of Carroll's poem in interpreting the Snark. My own ideas about possible meanings and references made by Henry Holiday and Lewis Carroll are listed (it's a matrix) in this spreadsheet: www.ipernity.com/doc/goetzkluge/27197773

Some images also just were be made to be naughty - and to hold the beholder of these images responsible for seeing "things" in the images which may not be acceptable by everyone. Example: I think that Holiday lampooned C.L.Dodgson's (Carroll's) boss (Henry George Liddell) in one of his illustrations. Loddell probably would not have been too amused to find that out. Thus, Holiday had to be ambiguous. Or he wasn't ambigous at all and I am "seeing" too much myself?
The Billiard Marker & Henry George Liddell

And like so many painters and illustrators before him, Henry Holiday may have hidden himself in one of his illustrations, just for fun again:
Hennry Holiday, the Bonnetmaker and a Bonnet
By the way: The photo seems to be a self portrait. But I also read, that it was taken by Joseph Swain. As for fun, watch Holiday's hands. This photo is around for more than 100 years and yet nobody commented on Holiday's (or Swain's) toying with the little finger and the thumb of his left hand in the pre-Photoshop era.
5 years ago. Edited 5 years ago.
 Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge club
Latest finding:
The Vanishing & Thomas Cranmer's Burning
4 years ago.
 Götz Kluge
Götz Kluge club
4 years ago.