THE COLLECTION OF THE LATE DR. ROBERT DOYLE
I first met Robert Doyle in the mid-1970's when he was touring English country houses. He visited Scotland, Ireland, England and Holland many times - often staying as the guest of the owners whose houses he had come to see. As a collector he was always excited to see Chinese export porcelain in its original environment and to become familiar with the histories of the families who had ordered it.
Robert was then a doctor practising psychiatry in Fort Lauderdale, with a great interest in music and gardening as well as the decorative arts. In 1984 he moved to Carmel Valley where he created a lovely garden (which to his great pleasure was illustrated last year on the back cover of David Austin's rose catalogue) and practised at the Monterey Hospital until two weeks before his untimely death earlier this year, being survived by his devoted wife Cary, their daughter, two sons and six grandchildren.
For 25 years he collected Chinese armorial porcelain because it embodied everything he admired in the decorative arts. It was beautiful and delicate, but more than that it told the stories of those who had ordered it and had it made. He particularly enjoyed the earlier period of 1700 to 1740 when the enamel painting was at its finest and most elaborate - providing painstaking detail and quality - almost always with the benefit of known provenance.
For Robert this was not just porcelain made for use three centuries ago, but tangible proof of History - which could be examined in the peace of his drawing room, where he was always happy to share his enthusiasm with others. I last saw him in Lisbon last November at an international conference on the China Trade, still anxious to learn everything he could about his porcelain. I wish Robert were still here to tell you himself the stories of the collection he loved.