Bicentenary of the birth of Sir John Tenniel, illustrator of
Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking-Glass
Sir John Tenniel (28 February 1820 – 25 February 1914) was an English illustrator, graphic humourist, and political cartoonist prominent in the second half of the 19th century. He was knighted for his artistic achievements in 1893.
Tenniel became a student of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1842 by probation – he was admitted because he had made enough copies of classical sculptures to fill the necessary admission portfolio.
Despite the thousands of political cartoons for Punch magazine and hundreds of illustrative works attributed to him, Tenniel is remembered especially for his illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871).
I was fortunate to work in a bookshop in Brighton for a number of years and whilst there managed to acquire a leatherbound, gilt-edged copy of each of the above. The illustrations and their quirkiness have not dimmed with time. Ed