Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: Tenniel’s Cheshire Cat

John Tenniel's Cheshire Cat for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Cheshire Cat in the Tree Above Alice, illustration for for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, John Tenniel

Several museums are all atwitter today with images for something called “National Cat Day”, apparently a day when the Ancient Egyptian tradition of cat worship takes over the internet — even more than usual.

As a cat person myself, I sometimes must succumb, and therefore offer an image of John Tenniel’s wonderful illustration of that most famous of cats from Wonderland.

The image is on Wikimedia Commons. I don’t know if the original drawings still exist. Tenniel drew the original guide drawings in ink, sometimes corrected with gouache. These were then traced onto the woodblocks into which the engravings were cut for the prints that accompanied the first editions.

This is just a reproduction of modern reprintings, but there is a Tenniel hand-watercolored version of the image in the Morgan Library, that I featured in a previous Eye Candy post from 2013. See also my 2006 post on Sir John Tenniel.


2 responses to “Eye Candy for Today: Tenniel’s Cheshire Cat”

  1. Martin Hoade Avatar
    Martin Hoade

    As a not a cat person this view and aspect of the beast properly shows us the savagely gleeful eyes and the voracious maw that can easily encompass the head of the small, innocent child. The artist has wisely and skillfully informed us that rabbit holes are very serious places. Didn’t know it was Cat Day, I will take the appropriate precautions.

    1. It’s worth noting that cats are not domesticated. We are.