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John Tenniel Alice in Wonderland Illustrations- Dodo, Caterpillar, Duchess & Cheshire Cat

Updated on November 16, 2016

Tenniel Caterpillar Illustration

John Tenniel Alice in Wonderland Illustrations

Tenniel Alice Illustrations are quite well known across the world. They portray each of the players in the book in a truly unique way. Tenniel’s style is recognizable in other works as well. However some of his best known drawings are done for this story.

He was also well known for his graphic cartoons and his political commentary, done through the medium of art. Some of the style that is peculiar to political satirists can be seen in his portrayal of the Mad Hatter. He set the foundation for a lot of the work that we see today.

Persons who are familiar with the artwork in Punch, the most famous of satirical periodicals, will recognize his style. He worked as the chief political cartoonist for that magazine for fifty years. He was selected for the team at the magazine due to his talent and expertise, some of which was seen in the work he did on Aesop’s fables before he started doing illustrations for Punch.

At present, Alice in Wonderland is ranked among the most expensive rare books. He drew over ninety drawings for Lewis Carroll’s work. He illustrated both Through the Looking Glass and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Prior to that, the illustrations were done by Carroll himself. However he finally decided to get help from a more experienced illustrator.


John Tenniel Alice in Wonderland Illustrations- Alice

Alice Tenniel Illustration
Alice Tenniel Illustration | Source

Tenniel's drawings in the book have made him famous, as the following artists have become famous for their media:

  • Eric Fischl watercolors
  • Romare Bearden collages
  • Printmaker Robert Blackburn

John Tenniel Alice in Wonderland Illustrations- Cheshire Cat Appearing Illustration

John Tenniel Alice in Wonderland Illustrations- Other Illustrations by Tenniel

Tenniel did illustrations of animals, plants and the main character herself. His drawing of the Queen of Hearts was said to be based on Elizabeth de Mowbray Duchess of Norfolk. These are just a few of the drawings that he did for these works:

  • Queen of Hearts
  • Cheshire cat
  • White rabbit
  • Mad Hatter
  • Caterpillar
  • Tweedledum and Tweedledee
  • March Hare

Sir John Tenniel was a stickler for quality and actually refused to let the first prints be released to the general public because the standard of the printing was below par. he has been honored as a national living treasure in England and has been knighted by the Queen. He was the first cartoonist or illustrator to receive such an honor.

John Tenniel Alice in Wonderland Illustrations- Dodo Illustration

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