Tenniel, John (1820-1914) by Scholes, Robert

John Tenniel (1820 – 1914) John Tenniel, the son of a dancing-master, was born in London in 1820. He attended the Royal Academy but left in disgust at the quality of teaching there. When he was sixteen Tenniel began having his paintings exhibited at the Suffolk Street Galleries. Then, he had some cartoons accepted by , including one showing Lord John Russell as David with his sword of truth attacking Cardinal Wiseman, as the Roman Catholic Goliath, that upset so much that he left the magazine. In that cartoon, reproduced in our files, we see Russell, seconded by John Bull, and watched by the British Public and his dog, preparing for the unequal contest. After this episode, Mark Lemon, the editor, decided to replace Doyle with Tenniel and in December, 1850, he became a staff cartoonist with . At first Tenniel was reluctant to take the post arguing that he was more concerned with . He also doubted his ability to produce humourous cartoons. He asked one friend: Punch Richard Doyle Punch High Art Do they suppose that there is anything funny about me? Reviewing a retrospective show of artists in , Haldane Macfall said, Macfall was thinking, no doubt, of works like , Tenniel’s horrified view of the Civil War in this country. Punch The New Age (NA 4.12:248) It was perhaps to the cartoons of Tenniel that “Punch” owed his place of dignity and power as much as to all else. In Tenniel the paper had a liberal mind, a large outlook on affairs, as well as a fertile and picturesque imagination. The American Juggernaut He is undoubtedly best known now, however, as the original illustrator of Charled Dodgson’s books. All his illustrations, by the way, were in black and white, though they have come down to us with colors added by later artists. He also illustrated works by Poe and Dickens. Alice

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