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The Mad Hatter’s tea party, from the colour illustrated Nursery Alice, 1890.

  • Intro
    Museum's Description
    Teacher notes
    • The mad hatters tea party is one of the best known tea parties of all time. It is fun and silly and follows absolutely no rules. 

      This hap-hazard approach to dining would have been particularly shocking in the Victorian era, when the book was published, as Victorians had very strict rules around eating and manners. Children generally ate separately from the adults and had to be on their best behaviour at all times. 

      The Mad Hatter's tea party from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland breaks almost all of these strict Victorian dining rules. Alice sits down without being invited and the Mad Hatter sits with his elbows on top of the sleeping dormouse, both elbows on the table and sleeping at the table were considered very rude.

      This image is from a book called Nursery Alice, a shortened version published in 1890 for younger children under the age of 5. The book contained 20 original illustrations from Sir John Tenniel who illustrated the original book as well. The images were beautifully coloured like this one and would have been very enchanting for young Victorian Children, much like they are for children today.

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