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Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré, 1832-1883

Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 6 January 1832
Place of Birth: Strasbourg
Place of Death: Paris


Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré was a painter, illustrator, designer and sculptor.


Doré was largely self-taught, studying at the Louvre and the Bibliothèque Nationale, and visiting the ateliers of Henri Scheffer and Dupuis. He made his painting début at the Salon of 1850, and his début at sculpture at the Salon of 1877. However, his paintings and sculpture were both badly received by critics.

It was in the world of illustration that Doré became renowned. He illustrated a huge number of literary masterpieces, for example Byron's Complete Works (1853), Dante's Divine Comedy (1861, 1868), Cervantes's Don Quixote (1863), Milton's Paradise Lost (1866), Tennyson's Idylls of the King (1867), Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1875) and Poe's The Raven (1883).

Not all his subjects were literary, Doré also depicted the sordid nature of contemporary urban life in Paris and London in his carefully observed, social realist woodcuts, for example La Ménagerie parisienne (1854), Le nouveau Paris (1860) and London: A Pilgrimage (1872). This interest in the seedy side of city life was something he shared with JW, who in the late 1850s turned to the barges, wharfs and warehouses of the docklands in London for the subject matter of a series of etchings, Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames and other Subjects, which became known as the Thames Set.

In a letter of 1878 JW made reference to Doré's fondness for drawing rather fantastical mountainous landscapes, comparing them to the wild scenery of America (#03572).


Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, Paris, 1956-61; Roosevelt, B., Gustave Doré, London, 1885; Jerrold, B., Life of Gustave Doré, London, 1891; Gosling, N., Gustave Doré, London, 1973; Chazal, Gilles, 'Gustave Doré', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 23 October 2002).