English author and satirical artist Sir John Tenniel was born on February 28th, 1820, son of a dance master and fencing instructor. He studied at the British Royal Academy and the Clipstone Street Art Society, but was largely self-taught as a book illustrator.
He was only 16 when he exhibited his first oil painting at the Society of British Artists. Tenniel was blinded in one eye in 1840 while fencing with his father. He drew more than 2,300 cartoons while he worked for Punch magazine. Queen Victoria knighted him in 1893.
Tenniel is best known for his illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking Glass (1872). Tenniel drew forty-two ink drawings for Alice, which were then carefully transferred to copper engraving plates for reproduction. Author Lewis Carroll tried to prescribe each step of the illustration and printing process and Tenniel and Carroll constantly battled. The first edition was withdrawn from publication when they argued over the quality of the prints. Tenniel only reluctantly agreed to work on Through the Looking Glass, his last project. Sir John Tenniel died in 1914.