The Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Charles Altamont Doyle

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Charles Altamont Doyle with his 3rd child: Arthur Doyle (may 1865)
The Doyle Diary: The Last Great Conan Doyle Mystery, by Michael Baker (Paddinton Press, 1978). Facsimile of a 1889 Charles Doyle's sketchbook while confined in the Montrose Lunatic Asylum.
Headstone of Charles Altamont Doyle and 3 daughters: Annette (1856-1890), Katherine (1858-1858), Mary (1861-1863) in High Cemetery, Dumfries

Charles Altamont Doyle (25 march 1832 - 10 october 1893) was an artist, watercolourist and illustrator, and the father of Arthur Conan Doyle. Charles was the youngest son of the caricaturist John Doyle (1797-1868) known as "H.B." and brother of Richard Doyle (Dicky). He joined the Edinburgh Office of Works at 19. He exhibited a number of watercolours and pen and ink studies at the Royal Scottish Academy. He illustrated John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and produced several illustrations for London Society between 1862 and 1864 and also for humorous books. But he never met success and fell into depression and alcoholism. He finally went insane and get interned in various asylums from 1885 to his death. It has been said that his best artistic works has been produced in the confines of the asylums.

However, in july 1888, Charles did 6 illustrations for his son's novel A Study in Scarlet published by Ward, Lock & Co., and two months later he drew again 1 illustration for Arthur's The Mystery of Cloomber serialized in The Pall Mall Gazette (19 september 1888) and in The Pall Mall Budget (27 september 1888).


Illustrations for Arthur Conan Doyle

Important dates of his life


  • 25 march : Birth of Charles Altamont Doyle.




  • Charles and Mary live at 1 South Nelson Street, Edinburgh.




  • Charles and Mary lived at 3 Tower Bank, (Tower Bank House) Portobello.




  • Charles and Mary live at Liberton Bank, Liberton (Edinburgh).
  • 22 february : Birth of his 5th child: Caroline Mary Burton Doyle (1866-1941) aka Lottie.


  • Charles and Mary livde at 3, Sciennes Hill Place, Newington, Edinburgh.





  • Charles and Mary live at 2, Argyle Park Terrace.



  • Charles lives in Blairerno, a boarding house, possibly one that specialized in the treatment of alcoholics, near Glenbervie, Kincardineshire, Scotland.


  • Charles in Montrose Royal Lunatic Asylum (Sunnyside), Kincardinshire (now Angus), Scotland


  • january-may : Charles in Royal Edinburgh Asylum (Morningside)
  • from 31 may : Charles in The Crichton Royal Institution, Dumfries, Dumfrieshire, Scotland


  • 10 october : Death of Charles Altamont Doyle. He was buried at High Cemetery, Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway (south side of Craigs Road).


  • February : His son, Arthur Conan Doyle, mounted an exhibition of the works of his father at The Brooke Galleries, London.


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