John Doyle

Notes


Life

1797-1868 [used monogram “HB” as caricaturist]; b. Dublin, his father being a Catholic silk merchant, with family estates [descendent from the Norman D’Oillys]; ed. RDS drawing school; awarded a medal in 1805; trained under Gabrielli and John Comerford (miniaturist); did equestrian portraits incl. marquess of Sligo on horseback; issued “The life of a Racehorse”, in six prints he became the celebrated artist of Punch; left Ireland at some date between 1817 and 1821, motivated by the treatment of Catholics; conducted an unsuccessful portrait studio in London, 1821;

 
his “The Turning out of the Stag” (1825) accepted at Royal Academy (London); produced political caricatures for Thoma McLean, publisher, 1829-51 - all pseudonymously as “HB”; adhered to good-natured caricature; his subjects included Sir Robert Peel [PM], Thomas Spring Rice, and Daniel O’Connell - whom he supported and whose ‘larger than life’ public image he helped to form; m. Marianna Conan (d.1832 - dg. James Conan, of Dublin), with whom five sons and two dgs. [as infra],
 
Doyle revealed his identity at “HB” to Peel, 1843, when the fad for his parliamentary work had waned; lived at 17 Cambridge Tce., Hyde Park where he entered Disraeli, Thackeray, et al.; reluctantly retired, 1851; he was attached to his religion; experienced reduced circumstances in later life; moved to Maida Vale, 1864; d. 2 Jan. 1868; his caricaturist pseudonym “HB” was formed from I[ohn] and D, kept his identity hidden; Strickland notes that ‘the likenesses were well-preserved – they were hardly caricatures at all’ (Dictionary of Irish Artists); some of his work is in the Royal Academy (London); an oil portrait of Charles Moore from his hand hangs in the NGI, Dublin; a portrait of him by his son Henry is in the National Portrait Gallery (London). ODNB DIB

 

The Doyles were Catholic, although the elder Doyle was critical of O'Connell. Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, was a grandson of HB and a nephew of Richard, and was raised a Catholic though he did not remain one.

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Works
Prints, An Illustrative Key (McLean 1841, 1844) [of members of Parliament]; G. M. Trevelyan, ed. The Seven Years of William IV, A Reign Cartooned by John Doyle (London 1957), 7pp. + 62 pls.

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Criticism
Dorothy George, English Political Caricature 1793-1832 (Oxford 1959), Vol. II, pp.224-45, and Chap. XIV; James N. McCord, ‘The Image in England, the Cartoons of HB [John Doyle]’, in Daniel O’Connell: Political Pioneer, ed. Maurice R O’Connell (1991), pp.57-71.

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References
RIA: The entry in the Dictionary of Irish Biography (RIA 2006) is my Helen Andrews.

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Notes
Kith & Kin [1]: his children incl. James William Edmund (1822-92) Richard Doyle (1824-83), the Punch illustrator [q.v.], and Henry Edward Doyle (1827-97) [q.v.], Director of the Irish National Gallery, and Willam Altamount Doyle (1832-93), a surveyor in the Scottish office of works, and an amateur artist who showed work at the Royal Scottish Academy, 1862-87 and who was father of Arthur Conan Doyle [q.v.], creator of Sherlock Holmes.

Kith & Kin [2]: The Conan family lived at Mount Alverno, on the Vico Rd., Dalkey and were involved in the clothiering business in Dublin. One of the Conans - known as “Boss Conan” by schoolboy nick-name, was a teacher and later headmaster at at St. Gerards, Bray. Today Phelan Conan, Ltd., “Robemakers since 1845”, have premises at Fashion City, Ballymount, Dublin 24, Ireland. Jack Conan, a grandson of the “Boss”, can be seen in action for his school on 2 Feb. 2011 at Sportsfile online accessed 18.03.2011.]

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