Born in Hampstead, North London, Tavener was an office clerk until 1940 when he was called up, serving in the Royal Artillery Surrey Regiment. At the end of the War Tavener returned to London and trained as an illustrator and printmaker at Hornsey College of Art. During the 50’s and 60’s Tavener illustrated many magazine covers, children’s books and posters, most notably for London Transport for which he created his Horse Guards images. Throughout his career he worked as a printmaker, hand printing his linocuts and lithographs in small editions of not more than 75 with his images inspired by English landscape and English architecture. He made his home in Eastbourne, Sussex teaching printmaking at the local school of art where he later became Vice-Principal. His garden gate led directly onto the South Downs which never ceased to provide Tavener with inspiration and strength.