Best known today as the illustrator of Lewis Carrol’s Alice books, John Tenniel was one of the Victorian era’s chief political cartoonists. This extensively illustrated book is the first to draw almost exclusively on primary sources in family collections, public archives and other depositories. Frankie Morris examines Tenniel’s life and work, producing a book that is not only a definitive resource for scholars and collectors but one that can be easily enjoyed by everyone interested in Victorian life and art, social history, journalism and political cartoon, and illustrated books.
From his sunny childhood and early enthusiasm for sports, theatre and medievalism to his flirtation with high art and fifty-year relationship with the London journal Punch, Tenniel is shown to have been the sociable and urbane humourist revealed in his drawings. There follow three parts on Tenniel’s work, in which Morris examines Tenniel’s methods and his earlier book illustrations, the Alice pictures, and the Punch cartoons. She addresses such little-understood subjects as Tenniel’s drawings on wood, his relationship with Lewis Carroll, and his controversial Irish cartoons, and examines the salient characteristics of his approximately 4,500 drawings for books and journals. The definitive study of both the man and the work, Artist of Wonderland gives an unprecedented view of the cartoonist who mythologised the world for generations of Britons.