Sir John Tenniel who was born on February 28, 1820, is known for his excellent talent as an illustrator, graphic humorist, and political cartoonist. Today, Google Doodle has rightfully remembered the great talent that gave the world illustrations like Alice in Wonderland that does not fail to amaze people even after nearly two centuries. For his contributions, he was honoured with a knighthood in 1893 by Queen Victoria. This was the first-ever honour of such prestige received by any illustrator.
John Tenniel was a political cartoonist for Punch Magazine
He played an important role as a political cartoonist for Punch Magazine for more than 50 years. His work in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland was created in 1865. Then came What Alice Found There in 1871. Tenniel was born in Bayswater, West London. His father John Baptist Tenniel was a fencing and dancing master of Huguenot descent, his mother was Eliza Maria Tenniel. Two things Tenniel hated as a child, as well as an adult, were limelight and competition.
His life changed in 1840 when he received a serious eye injury from his father's foil while practising fencing. As a result, Tenniel gradually lost sight in his right eye. But as he did not want to upset his father, he did not speak of losing the sight. Before becoming an illustrator or cartoonist, Tenniel was popular as a humorist.
Tenniel got admitted at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1842. But he disagreed with the school's teaching methods and started learning on his own. His artistic skills improved when he joined the Artist's Society or Clipstone Street Life Academy in the mid-1840s. Tenniel's first book illustration was for Samuel Carter Hall's The Book of British Ballads, in 1842.
John Tenniel was famous for his illustrations of Alice
Despite Tenniel's liking towards political cartoon, which was very effective then, he became popular with his illustrations of Alice. In total, Tenniel drew 92 drawings for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. In fact, Lewis Carroll himself illustrated Alice in Wonderland. This was reviewed by engraver Orlando Jewitt and after holding talks, the task was given to Tenniel, who created magic with the work on Alice.
Tenniel's illustrations of Alice in Wonderland have been engraved onto blocks of deal wood by the Brothers Dalziel. It helped in making electrotype copies for the actual printing of the books. Tenniel retired in January 1901. He breathed his last on February 25, 1914, just three days before his 94th birthday. The funeral was held at Kensal Green Cemetery in London.