Mad as a Hatter

Anni Morris

Dunedin, New Zealand

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Artist's Description

Mad as a Hatter by Anni Morris
Acrylic on canvas
Size: 12 × 12 inches

One of a series of paintings I have been working on, based on the theme of Lewis Caroll’s book Alice in Wonderland. I have so enjoyed painting on theme I hope to continue it and maybe include Alice Through the Looking Glass too. The term “mad as a hatter” is often used in speech and normally it is linked to the madcap milliner in Lewis Carroll’s classic childrens book Alice in Wonderland. But few actually know that the true origin of the saying relates to a disease peculiar to the hat making industry in the 1800s. A mercury solution was commonly used during the process of turning fur into felt, which caused the hatters to breathe in the fumes of this highly toxic metal, a situation exacerbated by the poor ventilation in most of the workshops. This led in turn to an accumulation of mercury in the workers’ bodies, resulting in symptoms such as trembling (known as “hatters’ shakes”), loss of coordination, slurred speech, loosening of teeth, memory loss, depression, irritability and anxiety — “The Mad Hatter Syndrome.” The phrase is still used today to describe the effects of mercury poisoning, albeit from other sources. These paintings are for an exhibition which is opening tomorrow called Pocket Rockets. It is being held by the NZ Art Guild and 19 artists are submitting work. All works are small, no larger than 12 × 12 inches. It is at the Art Station Art Gallery, Anzac Avenue, Dunedin, New Zealand and runs until the 22nd May.

Artwork Comments

  • CiannaRose
  • Monica Engeler
  • Anni Morris
  • Anni Morris
  • Donna Huntriss
  • Anni Morris
  • Michael Haslam
  • Anni Morris
  • Hiroko
  • Anni Morris
  • Lance Leopold
  • Anni Morris
  • hootonles
  • Anni Morris
  • Anita Inverarity
  • Anni Morris
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