Google reports over 2 million searches on Sir John Tenniel- so who is he?

Today’s Google Doodle is honouring the life and legacy of Sir John Tenniel.

Born in London on this day in 1820, Tenniel was one of the most highly-regarded Victorian illustrators and painters and is perhaps best remembered for bringing to life the characters of Lewis Carroll’s timeless Alice in Wonderland series.

Tenniel was born in Bayswater, London, in 1820, and from a young age, his artistic talent was abundantly clear and at 16 he submitted his first work for display – an oil painting, to the Society of British Artists.

By 1850, Tenniel found his calling as a political cartoonist.

Thanks to his near-photographic memory he developed a distinctive style which caught the attention of many. He first met Charles Dodgson, whose pen name was Lewis Carroll, in 1864, and Tenniel agreed to illustrate Carroll’s new book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The results of this partnership, which continued through to 1872 and included illustrating Through the Looking Glass, is a series of classic and charming character designs such as Alice and the toothy Cheshire Cat. After working with Carroll, Tenniel never illustrated again; instead, he returned to Punch magazine to draw more political cartoons.

In 1893, Tenniel received a knighthood for his contribution to the arts, and his drawings continue to inspire children and adults.

The doodle, the picture featured on Google’s homepage, today honours what would’ve been his 200th birthday.

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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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