John Doyle

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
John Doyle sketched by his son Henry Edward Doyle.
John Doyle aka H.B. (1856)

John Doyle (april 1797 - 2 january 1868) was the paternal grandfather of Arthur Conan Doyle.

He was a political cartoonist, caricaturist, painter and lithographer. His pen name was (made of 2 I.D., John Doyle roman initials, one above the other) leading to H.B.

In his auto-biography Memories and Adventures (1923), Arthur Conan Doyle wrote : « My father was the youngest son of John Doyle, who under the nom de crayon of "H. B." made a great reputation in London from about 1825 to 1850. He came from Dublin about the year 1815 and may be said to be the father of polite caricature, for in the old days satire took the brutal shape of making the object grotesque in features and figure. Gilray and Rowlandson had no other idea. My grandfather was a gentleman, drawing gentlemen for gentlemen, and the satire lay in the wit of the picture and not in the mis-drawing of faces. This was a new idea, but it has been followed by most caricaturists since and so has become familiar. There were no comic papers in those days, and the weekly cartoon of "H. B." was lithographed and distributed. He exerted, I am told, quite an influence upon politics, and was on terms of intimacy with many of the leading men of the day. I can remember him in his old age, a very handsome and dignified man with features of the strong Anglo-Irish, Duke of Wellington stamp. He died in 1868. »


  • 1797 : april, birth.
  • 1797 : 17 april, he is baptized.
  • 1820 : 13 february, marriage with Marianne Conan at St. Andrew's Church, Dublin.
  • 1821 : 24 january, birth of his daughter Ann Martha Doyle.
  • 1822 : John and Marianne moved to London and rented a house at 60 Berners Street.
  • 1822 : 22 october, birth of his first son James William Edmund Doyle.
  • 1824 : September, birth of his second son Richard Doyle.
  • 1827 : Birth of his third son Henry Edward Doyle.
  • 1828 : Birth of his fourth son Francis Doyle.
  • 1831 : Birth of his second daughter Adelaide Doyle.
  • 1832 : 25 march, birth of his fifth son Charles Altamont Doyle, at Bayswater (London), the future father of Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • 1833 : John and Marianne were living at 17 Cambridge Terrace (London).
  • 1868 : 2 january, he died aged 71, at 54 Clifton Gardens, London.

Some of his works