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Alice's Shop

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Alice's Shop

View of Alice's Shop.
Tenniel's illustration of 'The Old Sheep Shop'. As the book was about a land behind a mirror, Tenniel's picture is a mirror image of the real shop.

Opposite Christ Church, Oxford, England, is Alice's Shop on St Aldate's. It was formerly frequented in Victorian times by Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, who used to buy sweets there. She lived at Christ Church with her father Henry Liddell, who was Dean of the College and Cathedral.

Alice's Shop is now a gift shop selling gifts, souvenirs and memorabilia all based on Alice. The address of the shop in Oxford is 83 St Aldates Oxford OX1 1RA.

The Old Sheep Shop

The shop was featured as the Old Sheep Shop in Lewis Carroll's 1871 book Through the Looking-Glass. One of the original John Tenniel illustrations shows the inside of the shop. It was used as a setting in Chapter 5 of the book (Wool and Water) and is owned by a sheep in the story [2]:

She looked at the Queen, who seemed to have suddenly wrapped herself up in wool. Alice rubbed her eyes, and looked again. She couldn't make out what had happened at all. Was she in a shop? And was that really — was it really a sheep that was sitting on the other side of the counter? Rub as she could, she could make nothing more of it: she was in a little dark shop, leaning with her elbows on the counter, and opposite to her was an old Sheep, sitting in an arm-chair knitting, and every now and then leaving off to look at her through a great pair of spectacles.

The shop is very characteristic of the dream-like qualities within the Looking-Glass world, in that every time Alice tries to focus on a specific object on its many shelves it changes shape and shifts to another shelf. At another point the shop itself vanishes and Alice finds herself outside with the sheep in a boat, having been given a pair of knitting needles which turn into oars in her hands. The sheep herself continues to be make scornful, personal remarks and then finally, on appearing back in the shop, sells Alice an egg, which promptly turns into Humpty Dumpty.

On leaving the shop at the end of the chapter, Alice says:

"Well, this is the very queerest shop I ever saw!"

Gallery

External links

  • Alice's Shop
  • Buy Me and Old Sheep Shop on Alice in Oxford website
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