James Alder Fine Art
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NE46 1XD


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Richard Doyle (1824-1883)

Richard "Dickie" Doyle was a notable Victorian illustrator. His work frequently appeared in Punch magazine; he drew the cover of the first issue, and designed the magazine's masthead, a design that was used for over a century.

The son of John Doyle (known as 'H.B'), a noted political caricaturist, he had two brothers James and Charles, who were also both artists. The young Doyle had no formal art training other than his father's studio, but from an early age displayed a gifted ability to depict scenes of the fantastic and grotesque. Throughout his life he was fascinated by fairy tales. He joined the staff of Punch in 1843 aged 19, remaining there for seven years until resigning in order to concentrate on book illustration and painting.

Doyle collaborated with John Leech, W.C. Stanfield and other artists to co-illustrate three Dickens Christmas books, The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845) and The Battle of Life (1846).

In 1846 Doyle's illustrations for The Fairy Ring (a new translation of Grimm's tales), first made his name as a fairytale illustrator. Doyle illustrated a string of fantasy titles and was able to fully explore his love of fairy mythology with his many illustrations and borders filled with elves, pixies and other mythical creatures.

His masterpiece is undoubtably In Fairyland, a series of Pictures from the Elf World, with a poem by William Allingham, printed by Edmund Evans and published by Longman in time for Christmas 1869 (dated 1870). In the 16 colour plates and 36 line illustrations plus title page, Doyle was given a completely free hand. The folio was richly bound in green cloth, and has been described as one of the finest examples of Victorian book production (Richard Dalby, The Golden Age of Children's Book Illustration, 1991 p.12).

Doyle was the uncle of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Paintings for sale by Richard Doyle:

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