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August 10, 2009

Terence Cuneo, Literal Artistic Icon

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Continuing the discussion of English illustrators specializing in transportation and military art (I wrote about Frank Wootton here), let's consider Terence Cuneo (1907-1996) whose work was so beloved in some circles that ...

Princess Royal unveiling statue of Terence Cuneo in Waterloo Station

Cuneo's drawing was more accurate than that of Wootton, but he sometimes got more hard-edge detailing into his paintings than suits my taste. Below are examples of his work beginning with a couple of train paintings -- the genre that led to his Waterloo Station statue.


"Flying Scotsman"

Steam engine emerging from shop
I think it's a shop and not a train shed, but I might be mistaken. Both paintings avoid the excessive hard detailing I mentioned above.

Sir Edward Heath
Cuneo also painted portraits. I wonder who selected that blue suit -- the artist or Ted Heath himself.

"First Air Post"
Like Wootton, Cuneo did airplane illustrations. This depicts final preparations for the initial air mail flight by the RAF from England to the continent in 1918.

"The Defense of Calais, 1940"
Another Cuneo subject was combat scenes. This shows the British army's Queen Victoria Rifles fighting off German attacks on the Channel port that eventually fell just prior to the Dunkirk evacuations. An account is here.

"The Snipe Action" (detail)
This is a combat scene probably from the North Africa campaign, 1940-43. The quality of the reproduction isn't good, but offers some idea as to Cuneo's skillful, economical brushwork.

"Bentleys at Le Mans, 1929"
If Wootton could paint Bentleys (see link above), then Cuneo also could and did. The subject is the Bentley triumphant effort at Le Mans in 1929 where the marque claimed the first four places; race results are here.

Cuneo and Wootton were contemporaries and in some respects competitors in that there was a fair amount of overlap in their subject matter. Wootton is best known for his airplanes and Cuneo (in Britain, at least) for his trains. From my standpoint, Cuneo is the better all-rounder thanks to his more accurate drawing, though both created very good paintings that made enjoyable viewing for fans of their genre.



posted by Donald at August 10, 2009


He's better at animated subjects, like his steam engines, than at inanimate objects, like Ted Heath.

Posted by: dearieme on August 10, 2009 1:56 PM

Now this is an artist who has an imagination and can paint!

Thanks for introducing me to this guy Donald. I'll be looking out for more of his work on the net.

Posted by: BTM on August 11, 2009 1:31 AM

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