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Terence Tenison Cuneo CVO OBE RGI FGRA was born in London on 1 November 1907. His father was Cyrus Cuneo, his mother Nell née Tenison. They were both established artists who had met in Paris whilst studying under Whistler. Terence's uncles, Rinaldo and Egisto, were also a well-known artists, based in San Francisco.

"The Infant Terence with His Mother" by Cyrus Cuneo

Terence was a pupil at the Sutton Valence School in Kent, and then studied at Chelsea Polytechnic and at the Slade School of Art. His early working life involved working as an illustrator for magazines, books and periodicals. Then, in 1936 he started working in oils, continuing with his illustration work. During the Second World War he was a sapper in the Army, but also spent much of his time painting for the War Artists Advisory Committee, providing invaluable illustrations of aircraft factories and wartime events.

When the War was over, Terence was commissioned to produce a series of works illustrating railways, bridges and locomotives. A significant point in his career was his appointment as official artist for the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which brought his name before the public worldwide. He received more commissions from industry, which included depicting manufacturing, mineral extraction and road building.

He was most famous for his passion for engineering subjects, particularly locomotives and the railway as a whole, not to mention his wide range of specialist military works. In fact Terence painted an enormous range of other subjects from big game in Africa to landscapes in Europe. Further success was achieved in his regimental commissions and battle scenes as well as portraits, which include Her Majesty the Queen and Field Marshal Montgomery.

Since 1953, his paintings have included a small mouse, his trademark, which can often be difficult to find, and many people enjoy scouring his paintings to find it.

His work has been used in a variety of ways, from book jackets and model railway catalogues to posters and jigsaws and even Royal Mail postage stamps. His work can also be found in many museums and galleries, including the Guildhall Art Gallery, Lloyds of London, the National Railway Museum, the Royal Institution and many Officers' Messes around the country.

Terence Cuneo was granted Freedom of the City of London in 1993.

Sadly Terence died in London on 3 January 1996. However, his paintings live on in so many places around the globe, a permanent reminder of such a wonderfully talented man.

The larger-than-life bronze memorial statue of Terence Cuneo, by Philip Jackson, which stood, has now been moved to Brompton Barracks, Chatham. In tribute to Cuneo's trademark, the statue includes a hidden mouse peering from under a book by the artist's feet, and another carved into the statue's plinth near the ground.

Terence Cuneo married Catherine Monro in 1934. They brought up two daughters, Linda and Carole. There are three grandchildren, Andrew, Melanie and Cindy.

Linda and Carole by Terence Cuneo

Carole is very active in the management and control of the family heritage, and spends much of her life promoting her family's work. She is President of the Cuneo Society and provides enormous support to all its activities.

Terence Cuneo's painting of his home and studio in Surrey


For more information about Terence Cuneo, the following quality references will be of value:-
"The mouse & his Master" (autobiography) - New Cavendish Books, 1977
"The Railway Painting of Terence Cuneo" - Crescent Books, 1985
"Terence Cuneo, Railway Painter of the Century" - New Cavendish Books, 1990
"The Military Paintings of Terence Cuneo" - New Cavendish Press, 1993
"Tanks and How to Draw Them" - The Studio, 1943
"Terence Cuneo" on Wikipedia


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