The Adventures under Ground were written out by hand and illustrated by the author, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), between 1862 and 1864 for presentation in manuscript as a Christmas gift to Alice Liddell’s mother. Alice Liddell was the ten-year-old girl to whom Dodgson is said to have extemporized the nucleus of the “Alice” story while boating on the Thames on the afternoon of July 4, 1862.
In 1863, friends who had read Alice’s Adventures under Ground persuaded Dodgson to publish his story. He expanded the 18,000 word original to the 35,000 word final version, changed the name to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and saw the first edition published in 1865 by Macmillan of London.
—from the Dolphin Book edition notes
The Cheshire Cat
According to Ivor Smullen in the July 1993 Omni (p. 76), a possible inspiration for the Cheshire cat exists in St. Peter’s Church, Croft, County Durham, where Dodgson’s father preached for twenty-four years. There is a “crude stone carving” of a cat on a panel wall. If you kneel before the cat, it gradually disappears until all that remains is the smile, “which stretches almost from ear to ear”.