Friday, January 27, 2012

JohnTenniel: Crimean Caricaturist

Self Portrait by John Tenniel

Sir John Tenniel was a London born principle political cartoonist and illustrator of Punch Magazine in the second half of the nineteenth century. Born on 28th February 1820, he was 35 when the Crimean War unfolded: another artistic talent who had hit his prime at the time of Balaclava.

Highly critical and often pushing the boundaries of his time, Tenniel’s cartoons lambasted what Punch at times labelled the ‘idiocracy’ of Victorian governments and the social morays of the time. By the outbreak of war, Tenniel had been with Punch for five years as joint cartoonist with John Leech (see media posting on this blog).

More famous and remembered for his illustrations of Lewis Carol’s Alice’s Adventures  in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1871) it remains to his lampooning of characters surrounding the Crimea campaign and Balaclava to which I owe a debt. Sir John Tenniel died at the age of 93 on 25th February 1914.

Included amongst the works of his peers are several cartoons of Tenniel's with explanatory notes at the following website which preserves the cartoons of the Crimean War:

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