Like many young boys, I developed a fascination with trains when I quite young, and never completely lost it as an adult. I still find trains and train travel fascinating and possessed of their own aesthetic; huge gleaming machines, spouting grease and sparks, barreling through the night on slivery rails, carrying freight, passengers and the imagination of little boys to far away places.
Terence Tenison Cuneo was a British artist known for his depictions of trains, accurate, and romantic, futuristic and nostalgic, precise and painterly.
Cuneo started as an illustrator and then became a war artist and illustrator for the Illustrated London News in France. He came to wide notice as official artist at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
His parents were artists who met in Paris while studying with American ex-patriate James Whistler. Cuneo himself studied at the Chelsea Polytechnic and the Slade School of Art.
Cuneo painted landscapes, portraits, battle scenes and exotic animals; but was noted for his portrayal of industrial subjects — tanks, rockets, mines, dams, factories and, most notably, trains and railways.
He painted numerous posters and promotional images for British Railways and other railroads. In 1967 he was commissioned by the Science Museum to paint a large scale (20 x 10ft) painting of the Waterloo Station concourse.
The largest images I’ve found for Cuneo are on Art Renewal, though there are only three. Next best is the NSMI museums collection (click through the images on the detail pages for larger versions).
There is a Cuneo Fine Arts and related Cuneo Society website, apparently maintained by members of the family, that have some information and prints available, but the online images are very small.
Cuneo was noted for the quirk of putting a mouse in his paintings, almost as a kind of secondary signature. He also painted a series of whimsical mouse character paintings.
A statue of Cuneo by Phillip Jackson was placed in the main concourse at Waterloo Station; it includes a mouse almost hidden under a book at his feet.
4 Replies to “Terence Tenison Cuneo”
Great art, an artist I’ve never heard of, Thanks.
While looking at his train paintings I was reminded of the artist Walter Gotschke (gouache automobiles) for their energetic, dynamic compositions.
Cuneo is definitely a giant among those artists who regularly depicted railroad art. As an aspiring rail artist, I’m always inspired by looking at the breadth of work he completed.
Thanks for the articles and links, Charlie, a always!
Other readers can see Gary Symington’s train art (though only two pieces at the moment, it seems) here.
jolie trouvaille, merci pour les liens.
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