The other day I called over to see my friend Mark, who has a varied and fascinating Carroll collection, biased, I'd say, towards the fine arts. When I arrived, he already had two visitors, Seiko Kusuda and Atsuko Sudo. Seiko is a well known artist in Japan, and I've mentioned her work before, (a couple of examples here) but this was her first visit to the UK. She'd come with Atsuko, her friend and editor, and they'd been on a whistlestop tour of the country, looking for Carrollian inspiration. They'd gone to Christ Church, Oxford, where they had attended a course run by Edward Wakeling (I've also mentioned him a few times - like here - when he commented on an unpublished Carroll poem). They had also travelled up to Daresbury, where Lewis Carroll was born.

And finally, here they were in London, with their flight departing that evening, still with the V & A museum to see. They were looking over Mark's vintage postcard albums featuring Lewis Carroll's many theatrical friends, and vintage Alice productions of long ago.

There were any number of "Alice" character costumes to be seen in the postcards, and it did also seem that Carroll knew lots of rather successful and good looking young women who smiled winningly out of their postcards. I'm always sorry I never saw his own album of postcards - I have no doubt some of these cards appeared in that too - but his album is one of the many possessions which have now disappeared without trace.

Seiko and Atsuko were very charming and friendly. Seiko doesn't speak fluent English, but she gave me some presents of her work, including some pretty postcards and what I thought was something very original - several exhibition flyers which had been printed in different versions to include small pop ups of different Alice characters.

I've never seen anything like this before, Seiko is a collector, and so I think she knows the kind of things collectors like.

Among her photos was one of a carving she'd spotted in Oxford Cathedral, which really did bear a resemblance to the Jabberwock - the monster in the famous poem. This carving is not something I have seen mentioned before, but Carroll would certainly have noticed it. In my opinion, it's more likely to have inspired him with the Jabberwock than the gnarled "Jabberwocky Tree" which the Christ Church porters are always so keen to point out to visitors!

There are, of course, other possibilities - many people in the Northeast think that Carroll was inspired by the Lambton Worm

Lambton Worm I think that's a bit less likely because we don't know if he even saw any pictures of the Lambton Worm, whereas he'd have had the chance to see the Oxford Cathedral carving innumerable times.

Anyhow, the image from Oxford could turn up in one of Seiko's next postcards... and if it does, I'll be sure to write about it here.