Charles Altamont Doyle

Photo added by G-Man

Charles Altamont Doyle

  • Birth 25 Mar 1832 London, City of London, Greater London, England
  • Death 10 Oct 1893 Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
  • Burial Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
  • Memorial ID 157439767

Victorian artist who was the father of Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. He grew up in a very artistic family: his father, John Doyle was a political cartoonist; his brother Richard was an illustrator for Punch Magazine; his other brother Henry was an accomplished artist who would eventually become the director of the National Gallery of Ireland. Although he showed a great deal of artistic ability, he was unable to earn a living from his artwork. He moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, at age 17 and started working as an architectural draftsman with the Scottish Office of Works. He would hold a position with the Scottish government for nearly 30 years, illustrating books and magazine articles on the side to supplement his income. In 1855 he married Mary Foley whose mother operated the boarding house where he lived. They would raise seven children. Despite a successful job, budding artistic career and large family, Charles suffered feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, and became addicted to alcohol. He started to suffer physical and mental exhaustion which resulted in the loss of his job in 1876. His condition deteriorated rapidly into acute delirium tremens. In addition to delusions and hallucinations associated with this condition, he also suffered from epilepsy and bouts of depression. After years of failed rehabilitation, he was committed to a mental institution in 1881. He would spend the remaining twelve years of his life in asylums for the mentally ill. Ironically, it was during this period that he created some of his best artwork. He had several sketchbooks of watercolor drawings and pen-and-ink sketches featuring elves, faerie folk, and other fantastical themes that he created in an attempt to prove his sanity, sending the drawings to his family as proof of his wrongful confinement. In 1887, Arthur Conan Doyle went to his father and asked him to illustrate the upcoming book publication of "A Study in Scarlet". Charles produced eight drawings, his last paying work. On the morning of October 10, 1893, he suffered a severe epileptic fit which caused a fatal heart attack. In 1924, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle held an exhibit of his father's works. The exhibit attracted the praise of numerous critics. Perhaps the greatest compliment was delivered by author George Bernard Shaw who noted that the artwork was so good that it deserved its own special room in a national museum.


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  • Created by: G-Man
  • Added: 25 Jan 2016
  • Find A Grave Memorial 157439767
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Charles Altamont Doyle (25 Mar 1832–10 Oct 1893), Find A Grave Memorial no. 157439767, citing Dumfries High Cemetery, Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland ; Maintained by G-Man (contributor 46918562) .