DOYLE, Richard

(1824 - 1883)
"Now at last we know where Dicky Doyle has been! He has been in Elf-land With the Fairy-Queen"

Born into a family of gifted artists and authors (his nephew was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) “Dicky” Doyle was educated at home by his father, the Irish cartoonist John Doyle. He was blessed with a vivid imagination and fantasy was a vital part of his development.  He wrote in his journal that he was kept awake at night by visions of fairies and puckish gnomes, and he filled his sketch books with “elves ... sylphs and grotesque monsters which explode from doorways or swirl through the clouds in intricate layers.”  When only 19 he joined Punch, and a year later, in 1844, he designed the magazine’s intricate front cover, which was used as its signature image until the middle of the twentieth century.   Doyle left Punch in 1850 following a disagreement over its attack on the papacy, and for the next 33 years he lived the sometimes precarious life of the professional illustrator and artist , during which time he provided illustrations for Charles Dickens’s Christmas books, Thackeray’s The Newcomes and Ruskin’s The Golden River

It is for his depictions of bright eyed and mischievous fairies that he is best known, and his chef d’oeuvre in this field is undoubtedly In Fairyland.  This sumptuous and impressive production was designed as an enchanting children’s story, but a closer look shows that the fairies can sometimes be malevolent and the illustrations cloak an ambiguous adult allegory, in which Doyle examines the dichotomy of the Victorian attitudes towards sex and industrialization.

He died suddenly aged only 59, probably from a stroke, leaving behind a magical representation of the fairy world, which epitomizes mid-Victorian culture at its most whimsical.

Please scroll down to see our current stock of original illustrations and books illustrated by Doyle.








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 Richard  DOYLE

Books by this author

Jack the Giant Killer

DOYLE, Richard