Piazza San Marco, Venice
Water-colour; signed and dated 1974.
12 x 17.25
Doyle was not technically a member of the East Kent School, but a younger artist, like John Sergeant, for whom early contact with John Ward was a transformative experience. In Doyle’s own words, ‘John Ward, a life long friend took me to Venice, stuck me in front of the Santa Maria della Salute at 5 o’clock in the morning and said, “Paint that.”
“How the hell do I start?”
“Oh, at the top and work downwards”, and he was gone. Surprisingly, I did just that; I put three pictures in the Academy on my return and they all sold on private view day - I could do it! And so I became a painter - I was under thirty. I have always been in dear John’s debt for light, sunshine, beauty and loveliness have been my companion for nearly all my life. I did the usual thing, a show here a show there. A dear friend commissioned me to paint Canterbury Cathedral for an Archbishop to give to a Pope, I forget which one. I put up for the Royal Watercolour Society - they accepted me and nearly eighteen years later they elected me President. I showed with Anthony Spink in St James’s for many years but sadly a few years ago they moved to Bond Street and now only trade in Old Masters - I would have to die before they could deal in Doyles’.