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Charles D'Oyly

Birth: 1781


Sir Charles D'Oyly, seventh baronet (1781-1845), Indian civilian and artist, was the elder son of Sir John Hadley D'Oyly, the sixth baronet, of Shottisham, Norfolk, formerly collector of Calcutta and M.P. for Ipswich, who restored the fortunes of the family, which had previously been at a low ebb through generations of spendthrifts. He was born in India on 18 Sept. 1781, and in 1785 accompanied his family to England, where he was educated.

Having determined on entering the civil service of the East India Company, he sailed for Calcutta in his sixteenth year. He was appointed assistant to the registrar of the court of appeal at Calcutta in 1798, keeper of the records in the governor-general's office in 1803, collector of Dacca in 1808, collector of government customs and town duties at Calcutta in 1818, opium agent at Behar in 1821, commercial resident at Patna 1831, and finally senior member of the board of customs, salt, and opium, and of the marine board in 1833.

After forty years of honorable service he was compelled by severe ill-health to return to England in 1838. The remainder of his life was chiefly spent in Italy, and he died at Leghorn on 21 Sept. 1845. D'Oyly was twice married, first, to his cousin, Marian Greer, and secondly to Elizabeth Jane, daughter of Thomas Ross, major R.A., but he left no direct issue, and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his brother, Sir John Hadley D'Oyly. D'Oyly was an amateur artist of some powers, and his drawings, chiefly illustrative of Indian customs and field sports, were highly commended by Bishop Heber, who calls him 'the best gentleman artist he ever met with' (Heber, Journey through the Upper Provinces of India, i. 314, 2nd edition).

Several collections of them were published. 'The European in India, with a preface and copious descriptions by Captain Thomas Williamson, and a brief History of Ancient and Modern India by F. W. Blagdon,' appeared in 1813, and a valuable work on the 'Antiquities of Dacca,' with engravings by John Landseer, from Sir Charles D'Oyly's drawings, was published in 1814-15. 'Sketches on the New Road in a journey from Calcutta to Gyah' appeared in 1830. He also published anonymously in 1828 'Tom Raw, the Griffin; a Burlesque Poem,' illustrated by twenty-five engravings descriptive of the adventures of a cadet in the East India Company's service, which is more meritorious from an artistic than a literary point of view.

[D'Oyly Bayley's Account of the House of D'Oyly; Dodwell and Miles's Bengal Civil Servants, 1780-1838; Gent. Mag. 1843, new ser. vol. xxiv.]


Lloyd Charles Sanders, Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 15. pg. 418-419.

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