Why is a raven like a writing desk? well… I haven’t the slightest idea and neither does the mad hatter but that didn’t stop us from wondering why indeed a raven could be like a writing desk. In fact, many 19th-century puzzle experts pondered over the same for considerable amounts of time before arriving at rather lackadaisical answers to this riddle. The truth is, the creator; Lewis Carroll, didn’t intend for the hatter to make much sense and that’s what we love about the mad hatter, right?
I’d read “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” as a kid but it didn’t hit as hard as it did when I rediscovered it in the form of Disney’s 1951 version. If you’re a bit of a stoner and a rock and roller, you’ll know the movie and will probably also have watched it. I did too, and it was one of my most eventful “high watches” the others being, “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) and “Eraserhead” (1977).
The mad hatter is just one of the many quirky, eccentric, and slightly dark characters that appear in the story and has intrigued the imaginations of many. I personally would love to get a hatter tattoo. Read on to find out what those could be. Oh! and we’re listening to obscure acid folk-rockers’ The Soundfarm’s 1969 LP ‘Harvest’, to really get into that mad hattin’ headspace.
Meaning of Mad Hatter Tattoo Designs
The Hatter is a fictional character in Lewis Carrol’s 1865 book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through The Looking-Glass. He is very often referred to as the Mad Hatter, though Carroll never used this term. The phrase “mad as a hatter” pre-dates Carroll’s works. The Hatter and the March Hare are referred to as “both mad” by the Cheshire Cat, in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in the sixth chapter titled “Pig and Pepper”.
The March Hare and the Hatter put the Dormouse’s head in a teapot, by Sir John Tenniel.
Damn! Things are starting to disintegrate and float away a little.
Mercury was used in the manufacturing of felt hats during the 19th century, causing a high rate of mercury poisoning among those working in the hat industry. Mercury poisoning causes neurological damage, including slurred speech, memory loss, and tremors, which led to the phrase “mad as a hatter”. In the Victorian age, many workers in the textile industry, including hatters, sometimes developed illnesses affecting the nervous system, such as central nervous system (CNS) tuberculosis, which is portrayed in novels like Alton Locke by Charles Kingsley and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, which Lewis Carroll had read. Many such workers were sent to Pauper Lunatic Asylums, supervised by Lunacy Commissioners such as Samuel Gaskell and Robert Wilfred Skeffington Lutwidge (ain’t that a mouthful), Carroll’s uncle. Carroll was familiar with the conditions at asylums and visited at least one, the Surrey County Asylum, which treated patients with so-called non-restraint methods and occupied them, amongst others, in gardening, farming, and hat-making. Besides staging theatre plays, dances, and other amusements, such asylums also held tea parties.
Tea parties and recreational hat-making, wow! the 1800s were firing on all 9 cylinders.
Hat making was the main trade in Stockport where Carroll grew up, and it was not unusual then for hatters to appear disturbed or confused; many died early as a result of mercury poisoning. However, the Hatter does not exhibit the symptoms of mercury poisoning, which include excessive timidity, diffidence, increasing shyness, loss of self-confidence, anxiety, and a desire to remain unobserved and unobtrusive.
The Hatter we know is pretty confident, in fact, he thinks of himself as an undiscovered genius.
Ideas For Mad Hatter Tattoo Designs
Let’s get trippin’, some of this art is really amazing.
The Cheshire cat, Mad Hatter as a woman, the March hare, and other characters from the book are all featured in this painting. The colors here are so much fun to look at. Truly trippy.
The soft pastel colors and the calm faces in this painting make it a little unsettling to look at, like the faces from the aircraft emergency instructions from Fight Club (1999). Meanwhile, The Soundfarm plays on, the song is “(IITWTSA) Hippies”.
If the 1920s and the grunge aesthetic came together, this is what the Hatter would look like. This guy gives me some serious creeps.
Hats done in an impressionist style. So floaty.
This little piece has a clock for a face: a great representation of the Hatter’s obsession with clocks. You see he’s perpetually living out at 6 o’clock in the evening. The caption’s pretty self-evident. It feels nice to just admit it, doesn’t it? (that we’re all quite possibly mad here).
All the different movie Hatters in one place, somehow the amalgamation ends up looking like Johny Depp anyway. He’s just too colorful.
The Hatter as a thin, svelte woman.
Bringing the ‘ideas…’ section to an end with this psychedelic rendering of Alice and the guys.
Where Should You Get Mad Hatter Tattoo Designs
Wherever it’ll look maddest, duh! Here are some standard spots if you didn’t already know.
- Finger Spaces
- Behind the Ears
List of Mad Hatter Tattoo Designs & Meanings
Let’s get to the tattoos now. The music has changed to Canadian Prog-rockers Mashmakhan’s self-titled 1970 LP.
- The Purple Hat
Purple is an infectious color, perfect to portray eccentricity. I once colored an entire sheet with purple oil pastel. If I could, I’d swim in the stuff, and yes, I am slightly on the nuttier side. I’d get this tattoo for its Hatter value and as an homage to the color purple.
- The Cheshire Cat
Absolutely love the Cheshire cat. Whilst, not strictly a Mad Hatter tattoo, this isn’t far off and the cat is just as trippy as the rest of them. In fact, at one point, I used to think the cat was called the Mad Hatter. I absolutely love the cat’s introductory scene in the 1951 movie. Here in this tattoo, you can see it’s just the eyes and its mouth and nose that are visible and if I’m not wrong that’s how it makes its entrance in the movie, by just sort of un-camouflaging from the night. So trippy!
- The Lit AF Hatter
This guy looks like me at my friend Punli’s house after three beers and two jays on a friday night. This hatter is mad and is also having a great time being mad and probably isn’t quite sure of where or when he is. This tattoo wins!
- The Hat and The Clock
A good idea for a pectoral tattoo. Do you know what the number ’10/6′ here, means? That’s a price tag containing the numbers 10 and 6, giving the price in pre-decimal British money as ‘ten shillings and sixpence (or half a guinea).
- The Smokey Hat
The hat is starting to disintegrate with its material turning to whisps of smoke. The colors purple and green are great choices for whisps of dream smoke.
- Watercolor Hatter
A great shoulder tattoo idea, the same party hatter from about two tattoos ago, done on the shoulder with some added geometric styling to the artwork.
- We ARE All Mad Here
This fantastic thigh artwork is very nicely done. The detail and choice of lines are impeccable. A great place to get this artwork too. the perfect tattoo experience, in my opinion.
- The Arty Hatter Tat
A minimalist design, this tattoo is for the more understated, subtle folk out there. There are a lot of empty spaces and the tattoo has a geometric vibe to it. Nice!
- The Faceless Hatter
The Hatter has no face here and that adds a lot of mystery to the character.
- The Spade and The Queen of Hearts
This is a reference to another Alice character, The Queen of Hearts.
- Abstract Wonderland Scene
A very mysterious medieval-like design of wonderland.
- “Deck of Cards” Hatter
The Mad Hatter on a deck of cards and the March hare rushing off to, presumably, another tea party.
- Intense Hatter
This guy here is coming on a little strong with the crazy. I can’t pull away from his deep, mysterious, and abysmal gaze.
- The Children’s Book Hat
A whimsical and light-hearted rendering of the hatter’s hat.
- The Thigh Session
An artwork from the “ideas…” section, here tattooed on a thigh.
- Geometric Scene
Alice and the Hatter, sit and have an animated conversation here in this piece.
- Ankle Piece
An ankle tattoo of a faceless Mad Hatter.
- The Emerald Hat
Emerald green is another great color for the hat. Green is associated with geniuses and eccentrics alike. This tattoo is a total vibe!
- Mad Hatter Shoulder Piece.
Love the Cheshire cat at the bottom. What a mischievous grin!
- ‘ 51 Mad Hatter
Or you could mess around and just get the Disney version of the Hatter tattooed on you.
The creativity of the tattoos kinda fizzled out towards the end there but you now have enough information on the Mad Hatter to draft together your own custom dream tattoo. There are clocks, tea party references, and themes of urgency and unhingedness to draw inspiration from. As always, keep it crazy!
Later, dudes (and dudettes).