Google Tribute to Tenniel is Not Tenniel Art

Celebrating the 200th year since the birth of cartoonist/artist Sir John Tenniel, the Google Doodle for the day is an illustration of Alice and the Cheshire Cat from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

“‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ [said Alice].
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.”

But the above art is by Matthew Cruikshank, not John Tenniel.

Matthew talks with Google about creating the image to honor Tenniel.

Q: What was your creative approach for this Doodle? Why did you choose this approach?

A: I wanted to try something hand-drawn since Tenniel himself made astounding drawings that were then given to the engraver, and I wanted to at least pay homage to that initial process.

 Q: Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?

A: The Cheshire Cat and Alice’s conversation were the inspiration.


The Google Doodle appears to be an amalgamation of two Tenniel illustrations:

above: illustrations by Sir John Tenniel from

Erratum from on Tenniel:

When Alice meets the Cheshire Cat sitting in a tree, he vanishes and reappears again at once. When Alice walks on, he reappears again on a branch. This time, he disappears more slowly, on Alice’s request. However, the picture of this slow vanishing shows the Cheshire Cat sitting in exactly the same tree as he was in when Alice met him before walking on.

Some wonder why Google would not use actual Tenniel art for their illustration since it has long been in public domain (not that Google seems to care about such things).
It seems that Google prefers Google Doodles be original art by their team.

One thought on “Google Tribute to Tenniel is Not Tenniel Art

  1. While we’re on the subject, a shout-out to the men whose artwork literally replaced Tenniel’s in all the iconic illustrations: The Dalziels. (Until just now, I thought there was only one of them!)

    Tenniel drew on wood blocks, and the Dalziels engraved the printing plates for these drawings in the dense boxwood, removing Tenniels original art forever but effectively making it immortal–though it could be argued that they removed everything that wasn’t Tenniel’s drawings. But anyway, their fantastic virtuoso work helped make these illustrations what they will be remembered as: dense, surrealist, and nigh-tangible.

Comments are closed.