Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Doyle, Richard

(1824-1883) UK artist, son of political cartoonist John Doyle (1797-1868) and uncle of Arthur Conan Doyle. During his seven years at Punch (1843-1850), for which he designed the logo, he collaborated with John Leech and other artists on the Illustrations for three of Charles Dickens's Christmas Books: The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845) and The Battle of Life (1846). RD's fantastic drawings for a new translation of the Grimm Brothers' tales, The Fairy Ring (1846), were followed by the tremendously popular Fairy Tales from All Nations (1849) compiled by Anthony R Montalba (Anthony Whitehill), in which RD indulged his devotion to Fairytales with many drawings and vignettes of elves, pixies and mythical creatures. His next book illustrations appeared in Mark Lemon's The Enchanted Doll (1849) and John Ruskin's The King of the Golden River (dated 1851 but 1850), one of the earliest UK Children's Fantasies. RD's famous picture of the South West Wind with the bugle-like nose was redrawn (with bulbous-shaped nose) for the third edition in late 1851.

His masterpiece was In Fairyland: A Series of Pictures from the Elf World (dated 1870 but 1869), done to a poem by William Allingham (1824-1889). RD was given a free hand to produce his most imaginative pictures (16 colour plates with 36 illustrations and a pictorial title-page) for this glorious folio in decorated green cloth. The volume, which shows RD's secret fairy world at its most enchanting, is one of the finest examples of Victorian book production. The illustrations for In Fairyland were adapted for use with a specially written story, The Princess Nobody: A Tale of Fairy Land (1884) by Andrew Lang.

Among RD's other well known fairy works were Jack the Giant Killer (1888) and The Great Sea Serpent, which toured the UK as a large lantern-slide exhibition. "The Triumphant Entry: A Fairy-tale Pageant", comprising several hundred figures, was acquired by the National Gallery of Ireland; and several other Doyle paintings, notably "The Witch's House" and "Wood Elves Watching a Lady", are in the Victoria & Albert Museum. [RD]

further reading: Richard Doyle (1948) by Daria Hambourg; Richard Doyle (1983) by Rodney K Engen.

Richard Doyle


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.