Art of Richard Doyle

In my eclectic collection, I have several books which might be considered art.  They are mostly ‘old’ and one of my favourites must be Richard Doyle’s (1824-1883) #InFairyland,aSeriesofPicturesfromtheElfWorld.  ‘In Fairyland’ is most certainly Doyle’s masterpiece.

The Fairy Queen's Airy Drive by Richard Doyle printed 1870

The Fairy Queen’s Airy Drive
by Richard Doyle
printed 1870

The book has been described as one of the finest examples of Victorian book production.  It set a new standard in the milieu of book production.  Luxuriously produced, with intricate engravings on wood by Edmund Evans ‘In Fairyland’ was designed as a treasure for households to cherish but, alas, it was priced at such a cost it was far too expensive for all but a few to buy.  Only a few of the 2000 from the original print run sold.  The remaining were sold as a re-issue in 1875 slightly altered from the original version.

Water-Lillies and Water Fairies by Richard Doyle 1870

Water-Lilies and Water Fairies
by Richard Doyle 1870

#RichardDoyle was trained by his father John Doyle a noted political caricaturist.

No restrictions were laid upon Doyle when asked to produce ‘In Fairyland’. This allowed his great talent and imagination freedom to roam in creating scenes of the fantastic and grotesque.

A Proposal by Richard Doyle 1870

A Proposal
by Richard Doyle 1870

The prodigiously talented Doyle illustrated numerous books and worked for Punch.  He drew the first cover and his design for the sixth edition in 1844 was taken as their mast head until 1954.

A gifted man but unreliable in the completion of commissions and with his disregard for deadlines.  Wild excuses even to the point of claiming to have no pencils with which to draw were regularly concocted.  Such amateurism led to Doyle’s decline.

It would have been a very successful life and career had this man been able to overcome his weaknesses but I and we are blessed with the wonderful works which remain as a reminder of his talent.

And yes. He is the uncle of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the creator of Sherlock Holmes.  An amazingly talented family.

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