Terence Cuneo

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Terence Cuneo
Statue of Terence Cuneo by Philip Jackson at Waterloo station, London.
Born (1907-11-01)1 November 1907
London, England
Died 3 January 1996(1996-01-03) (aged 88)
London, England
Nationality British
Education Chelsea Polytechnic (1924-1927),
Slade School of Art
Known for portrait, landscape, illustration
Notable work Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (1953)
Concourse of Waterloo Station (1967)
Awards CVO
Patron(s) HM Queen Elizabeth II
Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery

Terence Tenison Cuneo CVO, OBE, RGI, FGRA (1 November 1907 – 3 January 1996) was an English painter famous for his scenes of railways, horses and military action. He was also the official artist for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Life and work[edit]

Cuneo was born in London, the son of Cyrus Cincinato Cuneo and Nell Marion Tenison, artists who met while studying with Whistler in Paris. Cyrus Cuneo's elder brother Rinaldo Cuneo was also an acclaimed painter in San Francisco, as was his youngest brother Egisto Cuneo. Terence Cuneo studied at Sutton Valence School, Chelsea Polytechnic and the Slade School of Art, before working as an illustrator for magazines, books and periodicals. In 1936 he started working in oils, continuing with his illustration work. During World War II he served as a sapper but also worked for the War Artists' Advisory Committee, providing illustrations of aircraft factories and wartime events. He served and became good friends with fellow artist Cyril Parfitt.

Cuneo's depiction of a Second World War invasion scene

After the war, Cuneo 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 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, including the M1. He was most famous for his passion for engineering subjects, particularly locomotives and the railway as a whole. But in fact Cuneo painted over a wide range, from big game in Africa to landscapes. Further success was achieved in his regimental commissions, battle scenes and incidents as well as portraits (including H.M. the Queen, and Field Marshal Montgomery).

Many of these works include a small mouse (sometimes lifelike, sometimes cartoon-like), his trademark after 1956.[1] They can be difficult to detect, and many people enjoy scouring his paintings to find one. Even some of his portraits of the famous contain a mouse.

His work has been used in a variety of manners, from book jackets and model railway catalogues to posters and jigsaws and even Royal Mail postage stamps. His paintings have appeared on both Great Britain and Isle of Man stamps.[2] His work can also be found in many museums and galleries, including Guildhall Art Gallery, Lloyd's of London and the Royal Institution.

Cuneo was awarded the OBE and was a CVO. A 1.5 times life size bronze memorial statue of Cuneo, by Philip Jackson, stood in the main concourse at Waterloo station in London for many years, but has now been relocated to Brompton Barracks, Chatham. It was commissioned by the Terence Cuneo Memorial Trust (established March 2002) to create a permanent memorial to the artist, together with an annual prize at the Slade School of Art, given by the Trust. 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.


Year Title Image Dimensions Collection Comments
1942 Assassination of Heydrich (c. 1942; originally may have been untitled), oil on canvas on board INF3-24 Assassination of Heydrich Artist Terence Cuneo 1939-1946.jpg view 61.4 × 76.1 cm. (24.2 × 30 in.) The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, UK Subject: SS-General Reinhard Heydrich (1904-1942; Operation Anthropoid). Artwork created for Ministry of Information during Second World War. INF 3/24
1944 Production of Tanks (original may have been untitled), oil on canvas INF3-17 Production of tanks Artist Terence Cuneo 1939-1946.jpg view 51.3 × 61.5 cm. (20.2 × 24.2 in.) The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, UK Scene: workers manufacture Churchill tanks on a factory production line. Artwork created for Ministry of Information during Second World War. INF 3/17
1968 Express Engines at Tyseley, oil on canvas view view 75 × 100 cm. (29.5 × 39.4 in.) Scene: rolling stock—London, Midland and Scottish Railway No.5593/45593 Jubilee Kolhapur and Great Western Railway No.7029 Clun Castle— at Tyseley Locomotive Works, Birmingham, West Midlands.
1972 Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, oil on canvas view 125 × 100 cm. (49.2 × 39.4 in.) Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Shrivenham, Oxfordshire Subject: Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (1887–1976), 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO. Artwork commissioned by the Army Staff College, 1971.
1971 Sir Edward Heath view 123 × 99 cm. (48.4 × 39 in.) Balliol College, University of Oxford, Oxford Subject: Sir Edward Heath (1916–2005), KG, Organ Scholar (1935–1939), Honorary Fellow (1969), Prime Minister (1970–1974).
1972 Self Portrait
Her Majesty The Queen with Her Dogs at Frogmore see Cuneo Society website Subject: Queen Elizabeth II (b. 1926).
Bentley vs The Blue Train view see Cuneo Society website Scene: 1930 Cannes to Calais Maritime race.


  1. ^ Antiques Roadshow Series 32; 15. Brooklands, broadcast 17 Jan 2009
  2. ^ Wheeler, Chris (May 2012). "Terence Cuneo and Philately". Cuneo Society Journal. 3 (1): 4–6. 


  • Westerman, John F. C & Cuneo, T (illustrator). Menace From The Air (Oxford University Press, 1938).
  • Cuneo, T. The railway painting of Terence Cuneo (New Cavendish Books, 1984).
  • Guild of Railway Artists (forward by T. Cuneo). To The Seaside (David Charles (London), 1990).
  • Chakra, Narisa. Terence Cuneo: Railway Painter of the Century (New Cavendish Books, 1990).

External links[edit]