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About the Boyds

The Boyd family have made a huge contribution to Australia's art and cultural heritage, and helped define our national identity. With a history spanning painting, sculpture, pottery, literature, architecture and music, their influence is powerful and ongoing.

The first generation of this remarkable family was formed in the union of Arthur Merric Boyd and Emma Minnie Boyd (nee A’Beckett). They married in 1886 and lived and painted in Victoria and Tasmania, and across Europe. Their first born child, Gilbert, died in childhood. Of their four remaining children, Merric became a potter and visual artist, Penleigh a landscape and seascape painter, Martin a writer, and Helen a painter.

We conduct a walking tour focusing on most creative of their children, Merric Boyd. For more information on the tour, visit our Boyd walking tour page.

Merric Boyd

Merric Boyd was born in his paternal grandparents' house Glenfern in St. Kilda. Growing up in Bayside Melbourne, he experienced a range of vocations, including jackaroo, salesman and farmer. He also studied to be a church minister. He became interested in sculpture while Yarra Glen, buying a pottery wheel and deciding to be an artist.

In 1913, Merric’s parents bought him a block of land from a subdivided farming estate which became 8 Wahroongaa Crescent, Murrumbeena. It was here where Merric built the studio residence he called Open Country. Merric’s parents chose Murrumbeena because Dr John Springthorpe lived in nearby Omama Road. He was an expert on neurological conditions, including epilepsy, which Merric lived with. John Springthorpe, and later his son Guy, were Merric’s physicians.

Between his arrival in Murrumbeena and his death in 1959, Merric built a pottery and kiln, married artist and poet Doris Gough and had five creative children — Lucy, Arthur, Guy, David and Mary. He also produced some of the finest hand-made pottery made in this country or any other. He survived service in World War I and a 1926 fire that destroyed his pottery. He supported his family through the Great Depression and despite the affliction of epilepsy, was highly creative until the end of his life.

Merric Boyd and his family’s residence in Murrumbeena forms an essential part of Glen Eira’s rich history and culture. We invite you to enjoy and share the family's story.

 


 

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