Alexandra 'Xie' Kitchin in front of the lens | Lewis Carroll's favourite model (1870-77)

Lewis Carroll, Alexandra Kitchin, 1873

Alexandra 'Xie' Rhoda Kitchin (1864-1925) was a notable 'child-friend' and favourite photographic subject of Charles
Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) L. Carroll once posed the question: “How do you achieve excellence in photography?
with the answer “Put Xie in front of the lens.”

Lewis Carroll, Alexandra Kitchin, 1876                                                              Lewis Caroll, Alexandra Kitchin, 1873  
Lewis Caroll, Alexandra Kitchin, 1873                                               Lewis Carroll, Alexandra Kitchin, 1877

In a letter to her on June 16, 1880, he writes, "Here is a riddle—'What is the best way to secure excellence in a photograph?' 
Answer: 'First you take a "lence," and then put "ecce" before it.'" He is punning on "ecce," the Latin word for "behold."

Lewis Carroll, Alexandra Kitchin, 1876
Lewis Carroll, Alexandra Rhoda Kitchin as she sits on a wicker deckchair and holds a parasol over her shoulder, mid 1870s

Lewis Carroll photographed her around fifty times, from age four until just before her sixteenth birthday. Xie had three younger brothers:
George Herbert, Hugh Bridges, and Brook Taylor, and a younger sister, Dorothy Maud Mary. All were featured in Dodgson's photographs.

Lewis Caroll, Alexandra Kitchin, 1870


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