What the Dickens Ever Happened To Perugini?

Italian-born English painter of the Romantic and Victorian era, Charles Edward Perugini was born in Naples, Italy, on 1 September, 1839, as Carlo Perugini. The family migrated to England when Perugini was six years of age. By the age of 17, he was back in Italy studying art under Giuseppe Bonolis and Giuseppe Mancinelli, and later in Paris under Ary Scheffer.

Perugini became a protégé of Lord Leighton, who brought the 24 year old back to England in 1863. Perugini may at first have worked as Leighton’s studio assistant. Under Leighton’s influence, he began as a painter of classical scenes; then “he turned to the more profitable pastures of portrait painting, and genre pictures of pretty women and children.” (as shown in ‘Dressing Up’ and ‘At The Well’, shown above).

Perugini married Kate, the youngest daughter of novelist Charles Dickens, in 1874. Kate (Perugini) pursued her own artistic career, sometimes collaborating with her husband.

  • Perugini’s portrait of Sophie Gray (see above), was the sister-in-law of Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir John Everett Millais, and was for many years, mistaken for a work by Millais himself.

Although Perugini and his wife Kate maintained an active social life in the artistic circles of their era, Charles Edward Perugini died in London, on 22 December, 1918.

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An Australian Abroad | Not To Be Out Foxed

Australian Impressionist painter Emanuel Phillips Fox  was born on 12 March, 1865, to Alexander Fox and Rosetta Phillips, at 12 Victoria Parade in Fitzroy, Melbourne. Fox studied art at the National Gallery School in Melbourne (1878-1886) under G. F. Folingsby; his fellow students included John Longstaff, Frederick McCubbin and Rupert Bunny. In 1886, Fox travelled to Paris and studied at the Académie Julian and École des Beaux-Arts (1887–1890), where his masters included William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Jean-Léon Gérôme.

  • Influenced by the school of en plein air Impressionism, Fox exhibited at the Paris Salon (1890), and returned to Melbourne in 1891. The following year, Fox opened the Melbourne Art School with Tudor St George Tucker, where he taught European ideas and techniques.

For many years, Fox spent his time in Melbourne, Paris and London, and in 1894, he became the first Australian to be awarded a third-class gold medal at the Salon. By 1905, Fox met and married fellow artist, Ethel Carrick. After their marriage at St Peter’s Church, Ealing, they toured Italy and Spain, and settled in Paris in 1908. Fox became an associate of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts; and two years later, became a full member of the Société; the first Australian artist to attain that honour. Some of his exhibitions were held at the Royal Academy, the International Society of Painters and on return to Australia, Fox held an exhibition of some seventy works (1913).

  • One of his frequent models featured throughout this collection of works was Edith Susan Gerard Anderson (later Edith Boyd). Fox introduced fellow Australian artist, Theodore Penleigh Boyd to Anderson, when Boyd worked in the studio next door to them.

As a model, Anderson was known for her bright red hair, which features in many of Fox’s works. She appeared in up to seven possible paintings in 1912, including The Green Parasol, On the Balcony, Nasturtiums, and Mrs. Penleigh Boyd. (Two of which are featured above).

  • Emanuel Phillips Fox sadly died of cancer in a Fitzroy hospital on 8 October, 1915. His wife Ethel Carrick Fox survived him by 36 years.

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Source: McCulloch, Alan. Encyclopedia of Australian Art. Hutchinson: Richmond, 1977.
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Ethel | A Carrick in Fox Clothing

English Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painter, Ethel Carrick, (later) Ethel Carrick Fox was born on 7 February, 1872, in Uxbridge, Middlesex, to Emma and Albert William Carrick, a wealthy draper. The family of ten children lived at Brookfield House, in Uxbridge. Carrick trained in London at the Guildhall School of Music and later, at the Slade School of Fine Art (1898-1903). She held her first show in London, in 1903.

  • Carrick married Australian Impressionist artist Emanuel Phillips Fox in 1905, and moved to Paris where they remained until 1913.  She exhibited at the Paris Salon d’Automne from 1906 onwards, the London Royal Academy of Arts, and the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts (from 1906).
  • The Fox’s travelled widely in Europe, North Africa, and Tahiti, making trips to Australia in 1908 and 1913, where they would show in various progressive galleries in Melbourne and Sydney.

Prior to the outbreak of World War I, Carrick served as the vice-president of the International Union of Women Artists. But, when the War began, both she and her husband returned to Melbourne, where they raised funds from artists to support the French Red Cross.

After Emanuel’s untimely death from cancer in 1915, Carrick began two decades of travels that took her through the Middle East, South Asia (including India), and Europe.

  • Carrick Fox exhibited at the Salon D’Automne, Royal Academy London, Australian Art Association, Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors, with both solo exhibitions and dual shows with her husband’s work, including one at the Melbourne Athenaeum, in 1914 (and again in 1944).
  • Carrick Fox became sociétaire of the Salon d’Automne, where she served as a jury member (1912-1925), at the time, an unusual position for a woman to hold, indicating the high regard in which she was held by, in the Paris art world.

Carrick Fox returned intermittently to Australia to exhibit her work and go out on painting expeditions around the country. In the 1920s, she was recommended by the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris, as a private teacher of still life painting, and she counted a number of Australians and Americans in Paris, among her students.

Late in her career, during the 1940s and 1950s, she exhibited with the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors.

  • Ethel Carrick Fox died in Melbourne on 17 June, 1952.

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Source: McCulloch, Alan. Encyclopedia of Australian Art. Hutchinson: Richmond, 1977.
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A Broken Picture of the Life of Bouguereau

French academic painter, William-Adolphe Bouguereau was born in La Rochelle, France, on 30 November 1825, into a family of wine and olive oil merchants. The family moved to Saint-Martin-de-Ré in 1832. At the age of twelve, Bouguereau went to Mortagne-sur-Gironde to stay with his uncle Eugène, a priest, and developed a love of nature, religion and literature. In 1839, he was sent to study for the priesthood at a Catholic college in Pons. Here he was taught to draw and paint by Louis Sage, who had studied under Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

Bouguereau reluctantly left his studies to return to his family, now residing in Bordeaux. He commenced art studies at the Municipal School of Drawing and Painting in November 1841. Bouguereau also worked as a shop assistant, hand-colouring lithographs and making small paintings that were reproduced using chromolithography. He was soon the best pupil in his class, and decided to become an artist in Paris. To fund the move, he sold portraits, 33 oils in three months. All were unsigned and only one has been traced. In 1845, he returned to Mortagne to spend more time with his uncle. He arrived in Paris in March 1846, aged twenty.

Bouguereau became a student at the École des Beaux-Arts. To supplement his formal training in drawing, he attended anatomical dissections and studied historical costumes and archeology. He was admitted to the studio of François-Édouard Picot, where he studied painting in the academic style. Academic painting placed the highest status on historical and mythological subjects, and Bouguereau determined to win the Prix de Rome, which would gain him a three-year residence at the Villa Medici in Rome, Italy, where in addition to formal lessons he could study first-hand the Renaissance artists and their masterpieces, as well as Greek, Etruscan, and Roman antiquities.

In 1856, Bouguereau began living with one of his models, Nelly Monchablon, a 19-year-old from Lisle-en-Rigault. Living together out of wedlock, the pair kept their liaison a secret. Their first child, Henriette, was born in April 1857; Georges was born in January 1859. A third child, Jeanne, was born 25 December 1861. The couple married quietly (for many assumed they were already wed) on 24 May 1866. Eight days later, Jeanne died from tuberculosis. In mourning, the couple went to La Rochelle, and Bouguereau made a painting of her in 1868. A fourth child, Adolphe (known as Paul), was born in October 1868. Aged 15, Georges’ health suffered, and his mother took him away from the bad air of Paris. However, he died on 19 June 1875. Nelly had a fifth child in 1876, Maurice, but her health was declining and the doctors suspected that she had contracted tuberculosis. She died on 3 April 1877, and baby Maurice died two months later.

The artist planned to marry Elizabeth Jane Gardner, a pupil whom he had known for ten years, but his mother was opposed to the idea. Soon after Nelly’s death, she made Bouguereau swear he would not remarry within her lifetime. After his mother’s death, and after a nineteen-year engagement, he and Gardner married in Paris in June, 1896. His wife continued to work as his private secretary, and helped to organize the household staff. His son Paul contracted tuberculosis in early 1899; Paul, his stepmother, and Bouguereau went to Menton in the south. When the stay was prolonged, the artist found a room in which to paint. Paul died at his father’s house in April 1900, aged 32.

  • By then, Bouguereau had outlived four of his five children, only Henriette outlived him. Elizabeth, who was with her husband to the end, died in Paris in January 1922.

Bouguereau was an assiduous painter, often completing twenty or more easel paintings in a single year. Even during the twilight years of his life, he would rise at dawn to work on his paintings six days a week and would continue painting until nightfall. Throughout the course of his lifetime, he is known to have painted at least 822 paintings. Many of these paintings have been lost.

  • In the spring of 1905, Bouguereau’s house and studio in Paris were burgled. On 19 August, 1905, aged 79, Bouguereau died in La Rochelle from heart disease. There was an outpouring of grief in the town of his birth.
  • After a Mass at the cathedral, his body was placed on a train to Paris for a second ceremony.
  • Bouguereau was laid to rest with Nelly and his children at the family vault at Montparnasse Cemetery.

Images above: The Broken Pitcher (1891), The Virgin and Child (1888) and L’Innocence (1893)

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Solomon | A Solemn Man

British painter, Solomon Joseph Solomon, was born in London, on 16 September, 1860. Solomon’s family was Jewish, and his sister, Lily Delissa Joseph (née Solomon), was also a painter. Solomon studied at various art schools, such as, Heatherley School of Fine Art, the Royal Academy Schools, the Munich Academy, and École des Beaux-Arts (under Alexandre Cabanel 1823-1889). Solomon also studied separately under Rev. S. Singer. Solomon’s painting was not only grounded in his influence from Cabanel, but also from Frederic Leighton and Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

Solomon had a successful career as an important artist and painter of historical, biblical and romantic scenes. Two examples are featured here:

  • St George, (c 1906), Diploma work accepted by the Royal Academy. The subject, St George, the Patron Saint of England, was a popular subject for artists particularly after the Boer War (1899-1902), when images of chivalric gallantry were well received.
  • Laus Deo, Japan-British Exhibition and Royal Academy Winter Exhibition (1928), is a large picture of a mounted knight guarded by the Angel of Fame or Glory or Sanctity leaving behind him the love and pleasures of the world. The knight singing Laus Deo, harks back to the days of chivalry and Knights Errant.

Solomon exhibited his first works as early as 1881, and showed at the Royal Academy, the New Gallery, and the Society of British Artists. In 1886, he became one of the founding members of the New English Art Club. In 1896, he became an associate of the Royal Academy, with full membership following in 1906, and one of the few Jewish painters to do so. He joined, and became President of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1919.

At the start of World War I, Solomon became a private in The Artists Rifles, a Territorial Force regiment. Solomon was interested in the French forces use of camouflage and promoted his ideas to senior army officers. In December 1915, General Herbert Plumer arranged for Solomon to visit the front lines and investigate camouflage techniques in use by the French. On return, Solomon was asked to set up a team to start the production of camouflage materials in France. On 31 December, 1915, General Haig, Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in France, instructed that as a pioneer of camouflage techniques, Solomon be given the temporary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, to enable him to carry out his new duties.

The new unit’s first task was to design armoured observation posts disguised as trees. Although Solomon was effective at the artistic and technical tasks of designing trees and nets, he was not as effective as a commander. Solomon was replaced in March 1916, and became a technical advisor, a role that suited him better. In May, 1916, he was sent to England to help develop tank camouflage. Solomon doubted that tanks could be effectively camouflaged, since they cast a large shadow. Instead, he argued for the use of camouflage netting, claiming that the Germans were hiding huge armies under immense nets.

In December 1916, Solomon established a camouflage school in Hyde Park which was eventually taken over by the army. Although camouflage netting was initially considered unimportant by the army; it was not manufactured in large quantities until 1917. Eventually, in 1920, Solomon published a book, Strategic Camouflage, arguing this case, to critical derision in England, but with some support from German newspapers.

  • Solomon died on 27 July, 1927, at the age of 66, at Birchington-on-Sea, in Kent, England.

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Sidney Nolan | A Fugitive Behind the Mask

Sir Sidney Robert Nolan was born in Carlton, [at that time an inner working-class suburb of Melbourne,] on 22 April 1917, the eldest of four children. The family moved to the bayside suburb of St Kilda. Nolan attended the Brighton Road State School and then Brighton Technical School and left school aged 14. He enrolled at the Prahran Technical College (now part of Swinburne University), Department of Design and Crafts, in a course which he had already begun part-time by correspondence. From 1933, at the age of 16, he began almost six years of work for Fayrefield Hats, in Abbotsford, producing advertising and display stands with spray paints and dyes. From 1934, he attended night classes sporadically at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School.

Sidney Nolan was a close friend of the fellow Victorian arts patrons, John and Sunday Reed, and is regarded as one of the leading figures of the so-called Heide Circle which also included Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, Arthur Boyd and John Perceval. In 1938, Nolan met and married his first wife, graphic designer Elizabeth Paterson with whom he had a daughter, but his marriage soon broke up because of his increasing involvement with the Reeds.

Nolan lived for some time at the Reeds’ home, Heide outside Melbourne (now the Heide Museum of Modern Art). Here he painted the first of his famous, iconic fugitive outlaw and Australian bushranger “Ned Kelly” series, reportedly with input from Sunday Reed. Nolan also conducted an open affair with Sunday Reed but subsequently married John Reed’s sister, Cynthia in 1948, after Sunday refused to leave her husband.

  • In the 1940s, after deserting from the army during World War 2, Nolan became the editor of the Angry Penguins magazine and painted the cover for the Ern Malley edition published in June, 1944.

Nolan left the famous 1946–1947 series of Ned Kelly’s at Heide, when he left in emotionally charged circumstances. Although he once wrote to Sunday Reed to tell her to take what she wanted, he subsequently demanded all his works back. Sunday Reed returned 284 other paintings and drawings to Nolan, but she refused to give up the 25 remaining Kelly’s, partly because she saw the works as fundamental to the proposed Heide Museum of Modern Art and also, possibly, because she collaborated with Nolan on the paintings. Eventually, she gave them to the National Gallery of Australia in 1977 and this resolved their dispute.

In the year prior to this resolve, Nolan’s wife Cynthia ended her life by taking an overdose of sleeping pills at a London hotel, in November, 1976. Two years later, in 1978, Nolan married Mary née Boyd (1926–2016), the youngest daughter within the Boyd family and previously married to John Perceval.

  • Sidney Nolan died in London, on 28 November, 1992 at the age of 75. He was survived by his wife Mary and two children. He is buried in the Eastern part of Highgate Cemetery, London.

Images featured include: Kelly in the Bush (1945), Carcass in a Tree [Sketch] (1955),
Policeman in Wombat Hole [From the Kelly series] (1946), Book cover illustrations for The Burnt Ones by Patrick White: Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1964, The Journey  [Kelly series] (1946), Kelly with Horse (1955), Ram Caught in Flood (1955), The Angry Penguins – Ern Malley cover (June, 1944).

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Escape to the Country With Celia Perceval

Australian artist, Celia Perceval, was born in Melbourne’s bayside suburb of Brighton, in 1949. She was the third of four children born to famed Australian artists John Perceval and his wife Mary (nee Boyd) Perceval, a member of the great Boyd artistic family clan. The Perceval’s four children are: Matthew, Tessa, Celia and Alice.

Celia Perceval is primarily a self-taught artist. She developed her inspiration for drawing and painting in the artistic environment created by her parents. Her earliest mentors included members of Melbourne’s famous “Angry Penguins” group, Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker and, of course, her father, John Perceval.

In 1963, the Perceval’s travelled by sea to England, visiting exotic ports on the way from Ceylon, and the cities and ports along the Red Sea and coastline Europe. They returned to Australia two years later settling in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, where she and her father often painted in the bush around the ACT. It was here that she held her first exhibition at the age of sixteen. By the age of eighteen, Celia Perceval had married and moved back to London where her son Timothy was born.

From 1968-1971, Celia lived and worked in a variety of towns and countries including the small village of Tourrettes sur Loup in the South of France; a tiny hamlet in northern Italy, followed by time spent in England, Ireland, Wales and India. During this period, she would make many trips back to Australia as she maintained a deep affection for the bush that shaped her childhood.

  • In 1971, Celia held her first solo exhibition at the London Hilton Art Gallery. The following year she exhibited at Cremorne Gallery, Sydney, Australia.
  • Deciding to return to Australia in 1973, she held further exhibitions at the Australian Galleries, Melbourne, the Bonython Gallery, Sydney (1975), and again at the Australian Galleries, Melbourne (1976).

With a yearn to move once more, Celia returned to England and Europe visiting many countries on the way, including: Thailand, Afghanistan, Nepal and Turkey. Eventually, she settled in Wales where she built her studio from 17th century ruins. Celia was based there for twelve years whilst painting throughout the United Kingdom and Europe.

  • Over the next ten years or more, Celia has continued to hold exhibitions around the world from Wales (1978, 1985, 1986, 1987), and London (1983).
  • Celia has made regular painting trips back to Australia and held numerous exhibitions in Brisbane (1977), Armidale, New South Wales (1977), Melbourne (1979, 1980, 1984), and Sydney (1980).

Celia returned to live permanently in Australia in 1988. She spent many months painting  in the Australian bush, often setting up camp in remote areas such as the Stirling Ranges in Western Australia, the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, and the Gulf and Cape areas of Queensland. She believes that painting ‘on the spot’ enhances the effect of her painting, capturing the light and atmosphere of the landscape. She built her studio on the hill on the Sapphire Coast in 1997, where she now lives and works.

Celia has continued to exhibit around Australia since 1990 in Sydney (1990, 1993, 1995, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010), Newcastle NSW (1991), Melbourne (1992, 1996), Kangaroo Valley (1999), and Perth (2006, 2007, 2010)

  • Her art is part of the collections of the Bendigo Regional Art Gallery in Victoria; the New England Regional Art Gallery and the Armidale City Art Gallery in New South Wales and the Croft Castle in Shropshire, England.

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John Perceval | From Cabbage Fields to Angry Penguins

Australian artist John de Burgh Perceval was born Linwood Robert Steven South on 1st February, 1923, at Bruce Rock, Western Australia. He was the second child of Robert South (a wheat farmer) and Dorothy (née Dolton).  His parents separated in 1925 and he remained at his father’s farm until reunited with his mother in Melbourne in 1935. Following the marriage of his mother to William de Burgh Perceval, he changed his name to John and adopted the surname de Burgh Perceval.

In 1938, John Perceval contracted polio and was hospitalised, giving him the opportunity to further his skills at drawing and painting. Enlisting in the army in 1941, Perceval first met and befriended Arthur Boyd. After leaving the army and moving into the Boyd family home, “Open Country“, at Murrumbeena, he married Boyd’s younger sister Mary in 1944. They had four children Matthew, Tessa, Celia and Alice.

  • Perceval was the last surviving member of a group known as the Angry Penguins who redefined Australian art in the 1940s. Other members included John and Sunday Reed, Joy Hester, Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and Albert Tucker.

Perceval held his first solo exhibition at the Melbourne Book Club in 1948 and showed regularly with the Contemporary Art Society. Between 1949-1955 he concentrated on producing earthenware ceramics and helped to establish the Arthur Merric Boyd Pottery in Murrumbeena. Returning to painting in 1956, Perceval produced a series of images of Williamstown and Gaffney’s Creek.

Moving to England in 1963, Perceval held solo exhibitions in London and travelled to Europe, before returning to Australia in 1965 to take up the first Australian National University Creative Fellowship. His first major retrospective exhibition was held at Albert Hall, Canberra, in 1966. Suffering from alcoholism and schizophrenia in 1974, Perceval was admitted to Larundel, psychiatric hospital, in suburban Melbourne, where he remained until 1981.

  • John Perceval: A Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings was held at Heide Park and Art Gallery in 1984. Perceval was awarded Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1991, the year after the National Gallery of Victoria organised another retrospective exhibition.

Perceval’s last exhibition was held on 19 August-19 October,2000 at Galeria Aniela Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park which included 80 oil paintings and works on paper from 1946 -1999. Perceval died just four days short of the end of the retrospective, on 15th October, 2000. He is survived by his four children, all of whom are artists today.

Images included:
Mirka’s Studio 1961. Oil on canvas on composition board 76.2cm x 101.6cm
Boy in the Night 1985. Oil on canvas and composition board 51cm x 61cm
Cabbage Field Oakleigh c. 1948. Oil on canvas, 54 x 84.5 cm.
Tucker Outer 1971. Oil on canvas 35.5cm x 45.5cm
The Market Garden. Oil on canvas 81.5cm x 102cm 

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John Perceval by Margaret Plant. Lansdowne Australian Art Library: Melbourne, 1971
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Mary’s Salvation and Legacy to All

Painter, potter, ceramic decorator and photographer, Mary Elizabeth Boyd, was born in Murrumbeena, Victoria, in 1926. Mary was a member of the Boyd family artistic dynasty which includes painters, sculptors, architects and other arts professionals, commencing with Boyd’s grandfather Arthur Merric Boyd, Boyd’s father William Merric and mother Doris (nee Gough), uncles Penleigh Boyd and Martin Boyd. Mary was the youngest sibling of:

Mary Boyd grew up with her creative siblings, at their home ‘Open Country‘, in the Melbourne south-eastern  suburb of Murrumbeena, on what was then considered the rural outskirts of Melbourne. From an early age she appears as a subject in numerous paintings by her brother, Arthur Boyd (as shown above) and as a model for her other brother Guy’s sculptural work; and later for painter, potter, sculptor, and close family friend, John Perceval’s densely populated paintings.

She married Perceval, in November, 1944. They met through her brother Arthur. He and Perceval were friends who went on, like their contemporary, Sidney Nolan, to be members of the Angry Penguins group of avant-garde Australian artists and writers. Together, Mary and John Perceval had four children: Matthew, Tessa, Celia and Alice who all became painters.  Their marriage was a difficult one, as Perceval battled alcoholism and schizophrenia throughout his life.

After their divorce, Mary married the famous Australian painter Sir Sidney Nolan, in 1978, becoming Lady Mary Nolan. Their marriage was less than two years after the suicide of Nolan’s second wife Cynthia, and love affair with Sunday Reed at Heide Gallery. Sidney and Mary’s marriage caused a rift with Nolan’s friend, the author Patrick White, who criticised him for the speed with which he moved on, in his memoir, Flaws in the Glass.

Mary and Sidney Nolan, established the Sidney Nolan Trust at their estate The Rodd, in Wales, United Kingdom, where they welcomed many Australian artists and members of the art world, but they never lost contact with Australia.

  • Together with her siblings, Mary gifted a large number of works by their father William Merric Boyd to the Australian national collections. It was her way of recognising their father’s achievement, as well as being a family tradition, of making artistically inspired philanthropic contributions to the nation.
  • Mary’s legacy and salvation continued through her enduring passion and commitment to the visual arts, by allowing Australian galleries to promote the images of Sidney Nolan’s works.

After Sidney Nolan’s death in 1992, Mary relinquished her Australian citizenship, but continued to pursue Sidney Nolan’s legacy and in 2004 she won a bitter Supreme Court dispute with his adopted daughter, Jinx Nolan, over the ownership of his works.

  • Lady Mary Nolan died peacefully at The Rodd in Wales in 2016, at the age of 89. She is survived by her four children from her marriage to John Perceval.

Artwork by Mary Boyd – Abandoned Miner’s Hut (1956) and Arthur Boyd’s – Mary Boyd portrait.

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David Fielding and Frolicking in the Woods

Famous Melbourne born artist, David Fielding Gough Boyd was born on 23rd August, 1924. David Boyd was the fourth child of William Merric Boyd, a potter, and his wife Doris (née Gough), a painter. The Boyd family’s artistic dynasty includes painters, sculptors, architects and other arts professionals, commencing with David’s grandfather, Arthur Merric Boyd, and uncles Penleigh Boyd, and Martin Boyd. David’s sibling were:

Like many other Boyd family members, David Boyd studied art within the family, before entering the Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music in Melbourne at the age of seventeen. After one year, David was conscripted into the army. Upon his return, he studied art at the National Gallery of Victoria School on an ex-serviceman’s grant. In 1946, he worked with his brother Guy at the Martin Boyd Pottery in Sydney. He also established a pottery studio in London in the early 1950s and continued working mainly in pottery through to the mid-1960s.

In 1956, Boyd and his wife Hermia (nee Lloyd-Jones), became widely known as leading Australian potters. Married in 1948, they introduced new glazing techniques and potter’s wheel use in shaping sculptural figures. Hermia was born in Sydney in 1931, the daughter of graphic artist Herman and Erica Lloyd-Jones. Hermia’s career included being a potter, painter, decorator, artist, stage designer and later became the decorator of David’s pottery. They had three children:

  • Amanda, painter and costume designer
  • Lucinda, model and painter, and
  • Cassandra, painter and illustrator

David’s painting career began in 1957.  He joined the Antipodeans Group in the 1950s. He discovered a technique in 1966 known as Sfumato, which is one of the painting modes of the Renaissance, and is a painting technique for softening the transition between colours, mimicking an area beyond what the human eye is focusing on, or the out-of-focus plane. It was named after da Vinci’s usage of the word to describe graduations of smoky tones in his paintings. David’s method achieved this effect through a new technique involving candle flame. He and his family moved to Rome in 1961, and later moved to London. They also spent several years creating art in Spain and the south of France before returning permanently to Australia in 1975.

  • David Boyd was artist-in-residence at the School of Law, Macquarie University, Sydney from 1993–1996. He died on 10th November, 2011.

The images included here are:

  • Sunday Picnic (oil on canvas 81.5cm x 91.5cm)
  • Reaching for the Blossom (oil on board 43.5cm x 49.5cm)
  • Hide and Seek (oil on board 19.5cm x 17cm)
  • By the Mountain Stream (oil on canvas 39.5cm x 34cm)
  • Angel (oil on composition board 32cm x 26.5cm)

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Source: McCulloch Alan. Encyclopedia of Australian Art. Hutchinson Richmond 1977
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Guy’s bowls and sporting women

Australian potter and figurative sculptor Guy Martin à Beckett Boyd was born in Murrumbeena, Victoria, on 12 June, 1923. Guy was a member of the Boyd family artistic dynasty which includes painters, sculptors, architects and other arts professionals, commencing with Boyd’s grandfather Arthur Merric Boyd, Boyd’s father William Merric and mother Doris (nee Gough), uncles Penleigh Boyd and Martin Boyd, and brothers Arthur Merric and David, both painters; along with Mary Boyd, his sister and also a painter, who married first John Perceval, and then later Sidney Nolan, both Australian artists.

Guy is the brother of:

Initially, Guy was a potter, establishing both Martin Boyd Pottery and later Guy Boyd Pottery. These studios produced a wide range of modernist objects from housewares to decorative pieces which enjoyed strong commercial success (such as the bowls featured above). In 1965, Guy abandoned commercial pottery and made sculpture his full-time career. As a sculptor and designer, he was noted for his ability to capture the fluidity and sensuality of the female form. Guy’s first one man exhibition was held at the Australiana Gallerie in February, 1965.

Guy’s commissions include sculptures in both Melbourne and Sydney’s international airports, Caulfield Town Hall, the Commonwealth Bank and he has works in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Guy continued to exhibit in Australia, England, Canada, and the United States. In 1968 he won a Churchill Fellowship to study art overseas. Guy migrated to Canada with his wife and four younger children, settling in Toronto in 1975, but returned to live in Australia five years later and was appointed to the position of Art Advisor to Deakin University, in 1988. Guy pursued other interests including:

  • Australian Co-ordinator of ‘Save Lindy Chamberlain’ and wrote the book Justice in Jeopardy in her defence.
  • President of the Brighton Foreshore Protection Committee, which he founded. There is a plaque commemorating his achievements in preserving the Brighton Foreshore erected on the beach at Brighton, Victoria.
  • President of the Port Phillip Protection Society and was arrested campaigning against the damming of the Franklin River in Tasmania.

Guy married Phyllis Emma Nairn. They had seven children: Lenore (1953–), Sally (1955- ), Derry Catherine (1957–), Kirstin Doris (1960–), Ben, Charlotte Beatrice Magdalen (1968–), and Martin Duncan Gough Boyd (1970–).

  • Guy Boyd died on 26 April, 1988, from coronary atherosclerosis and was buried with Anglican rites in the Brighton Cemetery. His wife, Phyllis, and their five daughters and two sons, survived him.

The sculptures featured include:

  • Australian Tennis Player (1975) Bronze sculpture, Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne, gift of the artist in 1976
  • Swimmer Entering the Water donated to the City of Caulfield by the Boyd family in memory of Guy Boyd 1990. Situated outside the Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre (GESAC) pool, Bentleigh East.
  • Sally (Second Portrait) 1970 cast 1977 Bronze bust 31cm

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Source:  Scarlett, R. Australian Sculptors. Thomas Nelson, Melbourne 1980 and Von Bertouch, Anne and Hutchins, Patrick. ‘Guy Boyd.’ Lansdowne Press, 1976.
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Jamie | A Fourth Generation of Boyd

International and Australian artist, Jamie Patrick Boyd, was born at ‘Open Country‘, the house of his father and grand-father, in the Melbourne south-eastern suburb of Murrumbeena; on 19 November, 1948. Jamie is considered, the most important ‘living’ artist of the Boyd family.

Jamie Boyd belongs to the renowned artistic Boyd dynasty, which began in 1886, with the marriage of Emma Minnie (nee à Beckett) and Arthur Merric Boyd Senior (1862-1940). Spanning over four generations, the Boyd family holds a distinguished place in the arts in Australia, particularly in the fields of painting, sculpture, ceramics, literature and architecture.

Jamie is the second child of Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd (1920–1999), painter, and  Yvonne (nee Lennie) also a painter. His two siblings are:

  • Polly Boyd (1946–), artist and painter; and
  • Lucy Ellen Boyd, painter

With his family, Jamie moved to London, England, in 1959. Jamie graduated from the Academy of Art and Design at the public school in London. At the Central School of Art and Design, he studied fine art and composition in addition to classical music.

  • Coached by his father, Jamie began his artistic career painting landscapes of Hampstead Heath and the English countryside.
  • He won a Painting Award, which allowed him to study at the Foundation Michael Karolyi, in Vence, France.
  • Back in Australia, sixteen year old Jamie held his first solo art exhibition at Bonython Galleries, in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1966.
  • The following year, in 1967, the seventeen year old, exhibited at the Australian Galleries, in Melbourne, and after that, Jamie embarked on a full-time career as an artist and subsequently held exhibitions throughout Australia, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands and England.

Jamie is an enthusiastic painter of the landscape and the figure, who has gained international standing for his distinctive style and creative talent. His works often evoke the atmosphere of the English countryside where he spent his youth.

In 1978, Jamie and his family spent a year living by the Shoalhaven River in New South Wales, where, like his father, the river and the rock faces became the focus of some exceptionally beautiful paintings; with tranquil landscape, which often have a dream-like quality. Jamie is equally accomplished across a wide variety of mediums, including, pencil, gouache, pastel and oils on canvas and board.

Jamie regularly travels from London to work at Shoalhaven, at the former family home, Bundanon, which his parents, Arthur and Yvonne Boyd donated to the Australian public in 1993. Known as the Bundanon Trust it is now a public art museum which contains artworks from the Boyd family art collection.

  • Discover more about Jamie Boyd’s art at the Galeria Aniela website.

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From Brides and Skates | To Statues and Fridges

Famous Melbourne born artist, Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd, AC, OBE, was born on 24th July, 1920, at the family house ‘Open Country‘, in Murrumbeena, in Victoria. Arthur Boyd was the second child of William Merric Boyd, a potter, and his wife Doris (née Gough), a painter. The Boyd family’s artistic dynasty includes painters, sculptors, architects and other arts professionals, commencing with Arthur’s grandfather, Arthur Merric Boyd, and uncles Penleigh Boyd, and Martin Boyd. Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd was the brother of :

  • Lucy Evelyn Gough Boyd (1916–2009), painter and ceramic decorator
  • Guy Martin à Beckett Boyd (1923–1988), early poet, potter and sculptor
  • David Fielding Gough Boyd (1924–2011), potter and painter; and
  • Mary Elizabeth Boyd (1926–2016), painter, potter and photographer.

With no formal training, except for cursory attendance at the Melbourne National Gallery School night classes for one year, Arthur Boyd’s formal education ended in 1934, when he was fourteen. He went to work in his uncle Ralph Madder’s paint factory, after which he earned a living as a builder’s and carpenter’s assistant. Two years later, in 1936, Arthur’s grandmother Emma Minnie (nee a’Beckett) died. He went to live with his grandfather Arthur Merric Boyd, who, for three years, nurtured young Arthur’s artistic talent, at Rosebud, on the Mornington Peninsula. His early paintings were portraits and of seascapes of Port Phillip.

Arthur became a leading Australian painter during the late 20th century. He moved to the inner city, where he was influenced by his contact with European refugees. Reflecting this move in the late 1930s, Arthur’s work moved into a distinct period of depictions of fanciful characters, in urban settings. His work ranges from Impressionist renderings of Australian landscape, to starkly Expressionist figuration; and many canvases feature both styles.

Arthur was conscripted in 1941, and served with the Cartographic Unit until 1944. Following the war, Boyd, together with John Perceval founded a workshop at Murrumbeena, and turned his hand to pottery, ceramic painting and sculpture.

  • Arthur was a member of the Antipodeans, a group of Melbourne painters, that also included, Perceval, Clifton Pugh, David Boyd, John Brack, Robert Dickerson and Charles Blackman.
  • In the 1940s, Arthur became an active member of the Angry Penguins, artistic and literary group. The aim of Angry Penguins was to challenge the conventions of art-making in Australia and introduce a radical modernism that represented a new language of painting in Australia. Some of the artistic painters who were members of this movement included Perceval, Sidney Nolan, Danila Vassilieff, Albert Tucker and Joy Hester.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Arthur traveled to Victoria’s Wimmera country and to Central Australia including Alice Springs and his work turned towards landscape paintings. During this period, perhaps his best-known work comes from his Love, Marriage and Death of a Half-Caste Bride series which reflected his observations of the indigenous first nation’s people of the Australian outback. Above are five paintings from The Bride series (1957-1959) including; The Frightened Bridegroom, The Ghost, The Wedding Group, The Bridegroom Drinking From a Lake, and Bridegroom Waiting For His Bride To Grow Up. First exhibited in Melbourne in April 1958, the series met a mixed reaction, as it did later that year in Adelaide and Sydney.

Arthur married Yvonne Lennie, a fellow painter and former student and drawing prize winner from the Melbourne National Gallery School. They had three children:

    • Polly Boyd (1946–), artist and painter
    • Jamie Patrick Boyd (1948–), painter and sculptor; and
    • Lucy Ellen Boyd, a painter.

The family moved to Bundanon on the Shoalhaven River, which became a constant inspiration for Arthur’s work over the 1980s and 1990s; and a stage for the very large paintings such as Bathers with Skate and Halley’s Comet (1985) Large Skate on a Grey Background (1979) and Australian Skategoat (1987) which were part of the Bundanon Trust exhibition which travelled around Australian galleries in 1994, including the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery.

  • In 1993, Arthur and Yvonne Boyd gifted to the people of Australia, the family property at Bundanon. Held in trust, they later gifted further property, artwork, and the copyright to all of his artworks. Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd died on 24th April, 1999.

May his soul be skating away, on the thin ice of the new day

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“Is It Art?”

Sources: McCulloch Alan. Encyclopedia of Australian Art. Hutchinson: Richmond, 1977 and Arthur Boyd 30 Paintings 1985-1994. Australian Galleries, Paddington NSW, 1994.
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Here’s Lucy

Lucy Boyd | Girl With a Pot (1972)

Lucy Boyd | Girl With a Pot (1972)

Born into the famous Australian Boyd dynasty of artists, Lucy Evelyn Gough Boyd was born on 27 August, 1916, in Murrumbeena, Victoria. Lucy Boyd was the first child of William Merric (aka Merric), a potter and Doris Lucy Eleanor Bloomfield (nee Gough) Boyd a painter. Lucy is the eldest sister of:

  • Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd (1920–1999), painter,
  • Guy Martin à Beckett Boyd (1923–1988), early poet, potter, sculptor,
  • David Fielding Gough Boyd (1924–2011), potter, painter, and
  • Mary Elizabeth Boyd (1926–2016), early age painter and potter and later, a photographer

The family lived at their home, named “Open Country“, in the Melbourne inner south-eastern suburb of Murrumbeena. Lucy Boyd became a painter and ceramic decorator. The image shown above, Girl With a Pot, was painted by Lucy, in 1972. It features in the biographical work Day of My Delight, by her uncle Martin Boyd, published in 1979. She married Hatton Beck (1901–1994), a ceramist, potter and sculptor. Together, they had three children:

  • Laurence Hatton Beck (1940– ), layman, wayfarer and journeyman
  • Robert Hatton Beck (1942– ), potter and ceramist, who married Margot Gardner (daughter of painter Freidl Gardner) and have two children; and
  • Paul Hatton Beck (1948–), a musician

Lucy and and Hatton Beck took over the family pottery studio at Murrumbeena, and held an exhibition of pottery in 1961.

  • Lucy Evelyn Gough Beck (nee Boyd) passed away on 8 April, 2009, in Melbourne, Victoria.

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Source: Boyd, Martin. Day of My Delight: An Anglo-Australian Memoir. Lansdowne Press: Dee Why West, 3rd ed. 1979
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Read | About Helen à Beckett Boyd

Australian artist and print-maker, Helen à Beckett Boyd was born on 7 April, 1903, at Sandringham, Victoria; the youngest, and the only daughter, of Arthur Merric Boyd and Emma Minnie (nee à Beckett) Boyd. The family consisted of five children, and she was one of the four of whom became prominent in the Australian artistic world. Helen was the sister of:

  • John Gilbert à Beckett Boyd (1886–1896) who was killed in a riding accident.
  • William Merric Boyd (1888–1959), a potter, who married Doris Gough (1889–1960), a fellow painter.
  • Theodore Penleigh Boyd (1890–1923), painter, who married Edith Susan Gerard Anderson, and
  • Martin à Beckett Boyd (1893–1972), writer.

As Helen à Beckett Read, she has exhibited widely throughout Victoria.  Helen is considered to be a traditional painter, who did not start her career until later in life. Her art style in Nocturne (pictured above) can be described as Contemporary Impressionism, as the use of a tonal colour palette; and the style of brushstrokes, are Impressionistic; while the style of the landscape depiction is contemporary. Nocturne is part of the collection of the Wangaratta Art Gallery, in Victoria.

  • Helen à Beckett Boyd married Neven Robinson Read, on 16 January, 1935, at South Yarra, Victoria.
  • The Reads had four children: Gayner Lucinda (a painter) (1936-1988), Susan (now Susan Easton 1938- ) Andrew (1942- ) and Prudence Read (1947- ).

Neven Read was born on 10 December, 1903, at Bedooba Station, Cobar, in New South Wales (NSW); and was educated at Grange School, Melbourne; Royal Australian Naval College, Jervis Bay, NSW; and at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, England. His naval career included Cadet Midshipman, Midshipman, Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander, through to Acting Commodore. He commanded the following ships: HMAS Tattoo (1935); HMAS Vampire (1936); HMAS Doomba (1940); HMAS Bingera (1941); HMAS Kybra (1942); HMAS Warrnambool (1943); HMAS Stuart (1944); HMAS Gascoyne (1944); HMAS Whyalla (1944); HMAS Ballarat (1945) and was a Senior Officer, 21st Minesweeping Flotilla in 1945.

  • Neven Robinson Read died on 8 January, 1977 at Henty, NSW; and Helen à Beckett Read passed away on 1 June, 1999, in Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia.

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