Doris Boyd | The Wife of Australian Studio Pottery


Australian artist, painter and ceramicist, Doris Lucy Eleanor Bloomfield Boyd (née Gough), was born on 20 November, 1888. Doris Gough was the youngest of six children, born to Victorian Naval Forces Lieutenant, Thomas Bunbury Gough, and Evelyn Anna Walker Gough (née Rigg). Doris grew up in an unusual household, in which her mother’s buoyant spirit, radical politics and Christian Science faith contrasted with her father’s conservative background and temperament. Her family line ran directly back to Thomas Bunbury Gough, a Dean of Derry, brother to the great soldier Hugh Gough, the 1st Viscount Gough.

Bunbury Gough was a Lieutenant in the Victorian Navy from 1885-1888. As Lieutenant, he was in charge of running the HMVS Cerberus, when the Commander was not on board. Outside of his naval career in Victoria, he worked variously as a merchant, as an insurance agent, and as a commission agent, as did his father-in-law. Evelyn was co-proprietor of The Sun: A Society Courier.

Doris Gough studied under Bernard Hall and Frederick McCubbin at the National Gallery School where she met Merric Boyd, a fellow student and potter. Boyd came from a background of artists who collectively formed the Boyd family dynasty. In 1915, she married him, and together they raised five children:

  • Lucy Evelyn Gough Boyd (1916–2009), painter, ceramic decorator, who married Hatton Beck (1901–1994), ceramist, potter and sculptor.
  • Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd (1920–1999), painter, who married Yvonne Lennie, painter.
  • Guy Martin à Beckett Boyd (1923–1988), early poet, potter and sculptor, married Phyllis Emma Nairn.
  • David Fielding Gough Boyd (1924–2011), potter, painter, married Hermia Lloyd-Jones, ceramic decorator, artist and stage designer.
  • Mary Elizabeth Boyd (1926–2016), a pottery enthusiast and photographer who firstly married, John Perceval, painter, potter, and sculptor, and had four children. and later, Sir Sidney Nolan, painter, becoming Lady Nolan.

Doris decorated many of Merric Boyd’s works from 1920-1930. These were mostly pieces for domestic use, featuring Australian flora and fauna. Sadly, the Boyd’s Murrumbeena studio and Merric’s pottery were destroyed by fire in 1926.

With a strong faith in Christian Science, Doris influenced her husband, an epileptic, to convert in his latter years. She died on 13 June 1960, nine months after Merric. They are buried side by side at Brighton General Cemetery, Caulfield South, Victoria, Australia.

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Source: McCulloch Alan. Encyclopedia of Australian Art. Hutchinson: Richmond, 1977
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