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Who was John Tenniel? Google Doodle honors Victorian artist who illustrated Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

Google Doodle Sir John Tenniel
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Victorian artist, Sir John Tenniel. Pic credit: Google

Google Doodle is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir John Tenniel, a famous 19th-century political cartoonist and illustrator.

Tenniel is best known as the artist who illustrated Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Today’s Google Doodle was created by Matthew Cruickshank, a native of North London. The Doodle (see featured image) shows Alice talking with the Cheshire Cat, who is looking down from a tree with a huge grin on his face.

Here is what you need to know about the highly-regarded British artist, John Tenniel.

Who was John Tenniel?

John Tenniel was born on February 28, 1820, in Bayswater, West London. His father was John Baptist Tenniel, a dancer and fencing expert, and his mother was Eliza Maria Tenniel.

He enrolled at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1842 and developed his drawing skills.

His displayed precocious artistic talent. In 1836, when he was only 16 years old, the Society of British Artists included his work in their exhibition.

Tenniel started working as a political cartoonist for the British weekly magazine Punch in 1850.

As a cartoonist, humorist, and political satirist, Tenniel was known for his attention to detail, despite suffering an injury to his right eye at the age of 20 while practicing fencing with his father.

Tenniel is best known as the illustrator of  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Tenniel met Lewis Carroll in 1864 and partnered with him to illustrate his book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Carroll had been doing the illustrations himself before he met Tenniel. However, he decided to partner with the talented artist who had done illustrations for Samuel Carter Hall’s The Book of British Ballads in 1842.

He brought to life the charming characters in Carroll’s story, including Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the Cheshire Cat. He also illustrated Carroll’s book, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871)

He returned to his work as a political cartoonist for Punch magazine after his partnership with Carroll. He worked with Punch for most of the more than 50 years of his career as an artist.

His cartoon, Dropping the Pilot, created in 1890, is widely regarded as one of his most famous creations. The cartoon was a comment on the forced resignation of Otto von Bismarck in 1890 from the government of Germany’s Emperor William II (Kaiser Wilhelm).

Queen Victoria knighted Tenniel in 1893 for his accomplishments and contributions to the arts.

He retired in January 1901 and died at the age of 93 in 1914.


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