Arthur Merric Boyd
'Gathering seaweed before the storm, Sandringham beach' 1900
The grandfather of Arthur Boyd, Boyd Senior (Arthur Merric Boyd) was an important artist of the Federation period. With his wife Emma Minnie Boyd, also an accomplished watercolourist, he founded one of Australia's most famous artistic dynasties. Boyd had an early introduction to outdoor painting through his schoolteacher, the British artist Thomas Wright. He later studied at the National Gallery School in Melbourne.
Arthur and Minnie Boyd were drawn to the seaside suburbs of Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay, where they lived. Boyd's love of the sea inspired many of his paintings, and in his later watercolours he sought to capture the effects of light on water. Gathering seaweed before the storm, Sandringham beach is filled with light, giving the scene a quiet energy. On a seaweed-strewn beach a small figure coerces his struggling horses to hasten their pace. The forces of the gathering storm overshadow their efforts as the rain-drenched clouds roll in and a flash of lightning illuminates the sky.
Boyd's fondness for the landscape and his respect for the labours of the worker struggling against the forces of nature are the overwhelming elements of this watercolour.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008