Terence Tenison CUNEO

Terence Tenison CUNEO

'Terry', as his mother called him in her RA portrait (1913), was the son of Cyrus CUNEO ROI and Nell Marion CUNEO (nee Tenison), and born in Shepherd's Bush, London. He showed artistic talent within an artistic family from an early age. Initially tutored by his mother, he began formal training at Chelsea Polytechnic (1924- 27) under Percy Jowett, who considered him singularly unpromising as an artist; later in life he attributed the greatest influence upon his work to his father.

His work is first mentioned in Cornwall when he exhibited linocuts at STISA in 1925. He was most active as an illustrator in the 1930s, his first successes being commissions from Chums, followed by Boy's Own, The Magnet, Christian Herald, and Wide World Magazine, Strand and especially the Illustrated London News. In 1931 he joined the London Sketch Club and by 1938 STISA, by which time he was writing and illustrating his own stories.  He was the official artist for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

He is now hailed as the greatest railway painter of the twentieth century, and known for his paintings of historic groups, battles and parades. At the RCM, Truro, is a collection of six of his oil paintings focussing on the industrial history of Cornwall.


Painter and illustrator

works and access

Likenesses of the Artist: Terry (a portrait of Cuneo by his mother, Nell Marion CUNEO, exhibited at the RA 1913)

Works include: An Incident from Treasure Island (1938); The Press Gang (1938; later used as one of the specimen illustrations in his autobiography); Cornish Engineers (Hollowood, 1951)

Access to work: Royal Collection; Imperial War Museum; National Railway Museum, York; Cardiff; Hull; World Health Organisation; Corporation of Johannesburg

In Cornwall at the RCM: Beam Engine Cylinder with Figure (1949); The Holman Test Mine (1949); A Machine Shop, Camborne Works (1950); Conversation Piece (1950); Trevithick and Holman with High Pressure Boiler (1950) and The Fire Whim at East Pool.


RA (3) 1949

STISA Show Day (Linocuts) 1925, 1928-39


LSC 1931

STISA 1928-39


Buckman (2006) Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945

Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (p320)

Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists

Peppin & Micklethwait (1984) Book Illustrators of the Twentieth Century

Public Catalogue Foundation (2007) Cornwall & Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Collections

Tovey (2003) Creating a Splash

Tovey (2009) St Ives: Social History

Whybrow (1994) St Ives (1921-1939 list pp 219-21)