Sir Charles D'Oyly was born in Calcutta, Bengal in 1781. After his education in England, he returned to India to follow his father in the service of the Honourable East India Company. He rose through the ranks of the HEIC Civil Service starting as an assistant registrar at Calcutta's Court of Appeal and ending up senior member of the board of customs, salt and opium.
He studied art under the celebrated George Chinnery and went onto be considered the finest Gentleman, or amateur, artist in India during the first half of the 19th Century. He was a good observer of Indian life from his surrounding to the people and customs of the country. He also had a sense of humour as his book Tom Raw, The Griffin, a burlesque poem in 12 cantos, published by Ackerman in 1828, testifies.
In 1828 D'Oyly established one of India's first lithographic presses, with equipment imported from England. He encouraged his friends to use the Behar Amateur Lithographic Press and was a great influence on Indian artists. D'Oyly was a very convivial man who inspired and encouraged those around him with an interest in art. Besides the Behar Press he also founded The United Patna and Gaya Society of artists.
His work came to prominence whilst in Patna between 1821 and 1833, which coincided with his most productive period. He was much admired by the British community for both his artistic skill and his hospitality. He still recognized as an important artist from the first half of the 19th Century in India.