28 February: Remembering Sir John Tenniel on Birthday

OV Digital Desk
3 Min Read
John Tenniel

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Sir John Tenniel (28 February 1820 – 25 February 1914) was an English illustrator, graphic humorist, and political cartoonist prominent in the second half of the 19th century.

Life and Career

Tenniel was born in London on 28 February 1820, and his talent was evident from an early age. The self-taught artist submitted his first work, an oil painting, for exhibition at the Society of British Artists at the age of 16. After becoming a political cartoonist with the historic weekly magazine Punch in 1850, Tenniel found his calling as an illustrator. The near-photographic memory of Tenniel contributed to the development of his distinctive style.

Charles Dodgson, who wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll, was most likely attracted to this creative approach. Following an introduction in 1864, Tenniel agreed to illustrate Carroll’s new book, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

Google Doodles: 5 important things you should know

This marked the beginning of a highly successful, but strained, creative partnership that continued with “Through the Looking Glass” in 1872. This resulted in a series of classic characters, such as Alice and the Cheshire Cat, depicted in the Doodle artwork’s rendition of their iconic meeting characters that remain beloved today by readers of all ages.

Following his work with Caroll, Tenniel never accepted another illustration job; instead, he returned to his political cartooning at Punch. For his considerable contributions to both the magazine and “Alice in Wonderland,” Tenniel received a knighthood in 1893.

Tenniel’s illustrations have animated the imaginations of children and adults alike for generations. His legacy continues to thrive, as readers cherish these timeless works of art to this day.

He died on 25 February 1914 in London at the age of 93.

 Award and Legacy

There has been widespread recognition of Sir John Tenniel’s contributions. Two days after his death, The Daily Graphic recalled how Tenniel “had an influence on the political feeling of this time which is hardly measurable….

In 1895 and 1900, Sir John Tenniel’s work was exhibited in public. He was also the author of one of the mosaics in the South Court of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Leonardo da Vinci. Occasionally, he exhibited his stippled watercolor drawings in the exhibitions of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, to which he had been elected in 1874.

On 28 Feb 2020, Google celebrated Sir John Tenniel’s 200th Birthday with a doodle.

Share This Article