The English political illustrator and cartoonist is best known for the photos he drew Lewis CarrollS Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland stories. Rightly so, Google’s tribute shows Alice looking at the Cheshire cat, replacing the letter L.
It seems that the image was drawn in pencil and traditional ink, instantly recognizable as a reference to Mr. Tenniel’s precise shaded outline style. The original drawings of Alice and her fanciful accomplices are still widely admired and Mr. Tenniel is often considered one of the most identifiable Victorian illustrators.
Son of a dancer and fencing instructor, he sent his first photo to the exhibition of the Society of British Artists in 1836. Mr. Tenniel continued to draw even if he lost sight of one of his eyes in a fencing accident at the age of 20, not discouraged by the backhand.
Aside from his illustrations of Alice, he was also particularly well known for his work in Punch, an illustrated periodical known for its satirical humor, caricatures and cartoons. He joined the publication in 1850 and worked on the magazine for most of his life.
The first impression of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was completed in 1865, but Mr. Tenniel and Mr. Carroll were often far from the same page about the process of creating the book. Mr. Carroll liked only one of Mr. Tenniel’s first 42 projects.
When Carroll asked Mr. Tenniel to illustrate the rest of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the mirror and what Alice found there, following the success of the first book, Mr. Tenniel first refused it. He was wary of the creative conflict between him and Carroll on the first book. He finally agreed, but never accepted another book project again.
In his personal life, Mr. Tenniel was quite lonely, especially after the death of his wife, Julia Giani, two years after their marriage. The illustrator died on February 25, 1914, at the age of 93. It’s been almost half a century since Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been published. He left a legacy in his art that keeps it as a household name to this day.
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