Doyle, Richard (1824-1883) by Scholes, Robert

Doyle, Richard (“Dicky”) (1824-1883) The artnet digest of the Grove Dictionary piece on Doyle: Illustrator, printmaker and painter, son of (1) John Doyle. When only 16 years old he published the first of his Comic Histories, the Eglinton Tournament: Or, the Days of Chivalry Revived, a burlesque of medievalism, selected from among his rather more grotesque pen-and-ink juvenilia. The public success of these images assured Doyle of a ready demand for work throughout his career. In 1843 he joined the staff of Punch, but his graphic skills found little immediate outlet. At first Doyle contributed only peripheral elaborations—inventive headings, borders, initials and tail-pieces—possibly inspired by the Gothic Revival interest in medieval tracery and grotesquerie. Following the success of his Punch cover design in 1849, which was retained for over a hundred years, Doyle began the series Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe, in which, with a pared-down line nearly unshaded, he represented large gatherings. In A Cydere Cellare and Ye Commons the members of these masses are just differentiated, and modern life is quietly medievalized; the middle classes glance discreetly at other classes, their institutions and themselves. Although he was notoriously shy and often portrayed himself as a small, thin figure, eyes hidden under tousled hair, Doyle did not shrink from resigning from Punch when it opposed the papacy’s plans to establish a regular diocesan hierarchy in England in 1850.

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