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A lifetime’s work in watercolours

A lifetime’s work in watercolours

A new book of watercolours by Kent artist John Doyle has been launched at the Cathedral along with the sale of some of his original paintings.

John’s book ‘Canterbury Cathedral – A walk around Guide’ is a collection of some of his best paintings. He has been visiting the Cathedral for 85 years and describes it as an inspiration and his spiritual home.

“I first came to the Cathedral in 1933 when I was just five years old with my grandfather and I’ve been coming ever since. It’s been a pleasure to be able to paint the Cathedral and I am so grateful for their support in making this happen.”

John didn’t start painting until late in his twenties when painter John Stanton Ward stuck him in front of the Santa Maria della Salute at 5 o’clock in the morning.

“Dear John Ward said ‘Paint that’. ‘How do I start?’ I asked. ‘Oh at the top and work downwards’ and he was gone. Surprisingly I did just that, I put three pictures in the Academy on my return and they all sold on private view day- I could do it!”

John Doyle went on to become the President of the Royal Watercolour Society and was once commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Coggan, for a painting of Canterbury Cathedral for Pope Pius VI.

At the book launch The Dean of Canterbury, The Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis, said “What John has given us is a sublime gift, a lifetime’s work presented in these beautiful watercolours.

“What is special about these paintings is that they often make people ask ‘where’s that?’ Many of the views aren’t available to us now as John took every opportunity to paint unique and interesting angles whenever scaffolding went up and new spaces became available. His paintings help us to see the Cathedral in a different light and serve as a sensitive and emotional reminder of this Cathedral community.”

John’s book is available from the Canterbury Cathedral shop.

image of the Cathedral
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