Making HistoryThe Boyd Family
Installation view, Making History: The Boyd Family 2017, photograph: Christian Capurro
The third exhibition in the Making History series, this display showcases the museum’s rich collection of paintings, works on paper and ceramic objects by various members of the acclaimed Boyd dynasty and their close collaborators. With a focus on the achievements of the 1940s and 50s, the exhibition’s highlights include elegant art nouveau-style pots by family patriarch Merric Boyd, Arthur Boyd’s masterful group portrait painted in 1946 and a vibrant array of domestic ware produced by artists working for the Arthur Merric Boyd Pottery in the postwar period.
In 1913 potter Merric Boyd and his wife and artistic collaborator Doris Gough settled at Open Country, a property in Murrumbeena in Melbourne’s south-east. Over subsequent decades they established a pottery and studios and encouraged their five children—Lucy, Arthur, Guy, David and Mary—to pursue their own creative endeavours. Open Country became a hub where cultural figures gathered and socialised, with John and Sunday Reed among the many visitors. The community expanded as the Boyd children married and lived at Murrumbeena for various periods with their spouses and families.
Making History: The Boyd Family highlights the Boyds’ artistic achievements of the 1940s and 50s. Arthur Boyd is represented by forceful surrealist-expressionist works of the 1940s acquired by the Reeds at the time they were produced, a masterful group portrait painted in 1946, and vivid glazed ceramic tile paintings. The display includes a number of Merric Boyd’s distinctive art nouveau-style pots and drawings, exuberant paintings and sculptures of angels by John Perceval, and vibrant examples of the domestic ware produced at the celebrated Arthur Merric Boyd (AMB) Pottery in the postwar period. Guy Boyd’s bronze portrait head of his niece Polly, rustic tiles by Lucy Boyd Beck and earthenware decorated with Australian flora and fauna by AMB Pottery partner Neil Douglas are also included in the exhibition.