About this artwork

This self-portrait shows the artist, Charles Altamont Doyle, looking straight at the viewer, sketchbook and pencil in hand as if it is them he is drawing rather than himself. It is a captivating study, made all the more intriguing by the ethereal depiction of a woman over his left shoulder. At the bottom of the paper it says: “That’s his guardian angel over the left, utterly disgusted”. Doyle spent most of his career employed by the Office of Works in Edinburgh and also enjoyed some success as an illustrator. He suffered from alcoholism, epilepsy and ultimately insanity, and was committed to the Montrose Royal Lunatic Asylum, where this self-portrait, which comes from a dismembered sketchbook, was drawn. It is signed and dated, 4 May 1888.

Charles Altamont Doyle

Charles Altamont Doyle