Charles Altamont Doyle (British artist) 1832 - 1893
Saint Giles - His Bells, s.d.
watercolour and ink
37 5/8 x 25 in.
Charles Altamont Doyle described the spirits he painted in the night sky above St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh as 'personified memories recalled by the Bells as they ring a merry Midnight'. His phantasmagoric watercolour St Giles shows a stream of ghosts haunting the city, and includes heroes and villains, celebrities and members of the mob: Montrose is being driven to his execution; Prince Charles is escorted by the Clans; George IV enters the city in a carriage. With these figures are representatives of the Auld Town Guard, Fishwives of the City, and the 4th Light Infantry, seen departing for the Crimean War in 1854. Few watercolours reveal with such surreal clarity the painter's disturbed or joyful visions of the spirit world.
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Charles was a Victorian artist who was the father of Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. His brother was the artist Richard Doyle, and his father was the artist John Doyle. Although the family was Irish, Doyle was born and raised in England.
Doyle was not as successful an artist as he wished, and suffered depression and alcoholism. His paintings, which were generally of fairies, such as In the shade or A Dance Around The Moon, or similar fantasy scenes, reflected this, becoming more macabre over time.
In 1881 Doyle was committed to a nursing home (Fordoun House) specialising in alcoholism. While there, his depression grew worse, and he began suffering epileptic seizures. Following a violent escape attempt he was sent to Sunnyside, Montrose Royal Lunatic Asylum, where he continued to paint. He died in Crichton Royal Institution in Dumfries in 1893.
viernes, 29 de septiembre de 2017
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