Doyly John (1906 – 1993) Oil on board ‘St Paul de Vence, near Nice, S of France’, 22cm x 37cm.
D’Oyly-John (1906 – 1993) Oil on board, inscribed on the reverse ‘St Paul de Vence, near Nice, S of France’, also with applied label ‘F.J.Harris & Son, No 83394 Nov 1969’ and a label providing a short biography of the artist, signed bottom right, 22cm x 37cm, in a canvas and gilt decorated frame 33.5cm x 49cm.
Cecil Rochfort D’oyly John created colourful and idillic views of the South of France and the Mediterranean which he signed simply – ‘Doyly-John’.
In 1945 he was badly wounded in a bomb explosion, resulting in his being temporarily blinded and needing a long period of rest to recuperate from his injuries. During this time, he was introduced to painting by his friend, the artist and teacher, Edmund Fearnley-Whittingstall. D’oyly John adopted a palette knife technique and later picked up tips from the Nice artist Paul Negeli. D’oyly John and his wife Joan lived in South Africa, then moved to Cannes before settling in England, but continued to tour the continent as Gough’s Gallery of Bognor Regis. In 1965 he had a very successful solo exhibition in Bognor Regis, selling his work to art dealers from around the world, including Stacy-Marks, Aldridges, and Frost & Reed.
Queen Elizabeth visiting Africa as Princess Elizabeth, found her Treetops hotel decorated with several paintings by D’oyly John and acquired his work for the Royal Collection. Some of his paintings of the south of France and of Venice were reproduced as prints, often high in the Printsellers’ Association’s popularity poll. Brighton became his home before he eventually settled in Rottingdean, on the south coast. A stroke in 1987 incapacitated the artist, partially paralysing him and blinding him in one eye. He died in 1993 and is buried in St Margaret’s churchyard in Rottingdean.