Henry Edward Doyle, Director 1869-1892

Henry Doyle, NGI Director 1869-1892

Henry Edward Doyle (1827–1892), artist and Director, was born in Dublin, the third of seven children of political cartoonist John Doyle (1797-1868).  He was privately educated at his family home in London and went on to receive some art training in Dublin. A devout Catholic, he used his family's religious reputation to gain patronage, and his best-known oil portrait is that of Cardinal Wiseman (exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1858).

Through the influence of the Cardinal, Doyle was appointed Commissioner for the Papal States to the London International Exhibition of 1862 and was created a knight of the order of Pope Pius IX. His religious paintings include some frescoes for the Chapel of the Dominican convent at Cabra, near Dublin. He also illustrated Mary Frances Cusack's An Illustrated History of Ireland : from the Earliest Period (1868).

In 1869 Doyle was appointed the second Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, after George Mulvany (1809–1869). Doyle's period of directorship was marked by innovative re-hanging of the collection, significant acquisitions and the establishment of the National Portrait Collection.  It was cut short by his untimely death when he died suddenly of heart disease on 17 February 1892 at his home, 55 South Street, Mayfair, London.