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Sir John Tenniel: Google doodle on 19th century’s political cartoonist on his 200th birthday

Sir John Tenniel who made 92 drawings on Lewis Carrol’s ‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland’ turns 200 on February 28, 2020.

Devdiscourse News Desk | New York | Updated: 28-02-2020 00:43 IST | Created: 28-02-2020 00:43 IST
Sir John Tenniel: Google doodle on 19th century’s political cartoonist on his 200th birthday
The first book illustration of John Tenniel was for Samuel Carter Hall’s The Book of British Ballads, in 1842. Image Credit: Google doodle

Happy Birthday Sir John Tenniel!!!

Google today celebrates the 200th birthday of Sir John Tenniel, the great English illustrator, graphic humourist, and political cartoonist, who was prominent in the second half of the 19th century.

John Tenniel was born in Bayswater, West London on February 28, 1820. He was the son of John Baptist Tenniel, a fencing and dancing master of Huguenot descent and Eliza Maria Tenniel. Despite of his tendency towards high art, John Tenniel was already known and appreciated as a humorist and his early companionship with Charles Keene fostered and developed his talent for scholarly caricature.

John Tenniel became a student of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1842 by probation. He studied classical sculptures through painting. However, he was frustrated in this because he lacked instruction in drawing. But he used to draw the classical statues at the London's Townley Gallery, copy illustrations from books of costumes and armour in the British Museum. He even used to draw animals from the zoo in Regent's Park including actors from London theatres.

The first book illustration of John Tenniel was for Samuel Carter Hall's The Book of British Ballads, in 1842. While engaged with his first book illustrations, various contests were taking place in London, as a way in which the government could combat the growing Germanic Nazarenes style and promote a truly national English school of art. He was also was offered John Leech's position at Punch in 1861 as political cartoonist, but he still maintained a sense of decorum and restraint in the heated social and political issues of the day.

John Tenniel is also famous for drawing 92 drawings for Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' and 'Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There'. He was also influenced by the Nazarene movement of the 19th century that also had good influence on other artists.

An ultimate tribute came to an elderly John Tenniel when Queen Victoria knighted him for public service in 1893. He was honoured with a farewell banquet on June 12, 1901 during his retirement.

Tenniel died at the age of 93 on February 25, 1914. Google gives honour to the great English illustrator, political cartoonist on his 200th birthday with a doodle made out of his hand-drawn pencil sketch.

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