Doyle was from a family of artists. He was born and raised in England but in 1849 he moved to Edinburgh, where he would spend most of his career employed by the Office of Works, whilst also enjoying some success as an illustrator. He contributed to publications such as: ‘The Illustrated Times’ (1859-60), ‘London Society’ (1863-64), ‘The Graphic’ (1877) and ‘Our Trip to Blunderland’ (1877). He exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy and notably depicted fantastic subjects, including scenes with elves and fairies. Doyle did, however, suffer from alcoholism, epilepsy and ultimately insanity. He was committed to Fordoun House nursing home in 1881 before being transferred to Montrose Royal Lunatic Asylum. He was the father of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.