Penleigh Boyd was born in Wiltshire, England, in August 1890, the son of Arthur Merric (1862-1940) and Emma Minnie Boyd (1858-1936). With his brothers Martin (1893-1972) and Merric (1888-1959), he belonged to the second generation of Australia’s most creative artistic family.
He studied at the National Gallery of Victoria School between 1906-09, and in 1911 Boyd went to Europe for two years, where met his future wife, the Australian painter Edith Susan Anderson (1880-1961). After serving in WW1, Boyd brought an exhibition of modern English and European art to Australia in 1923, but was tragically killed in a car accident that same year, at 33 years of age.
Edward, the Prince of Wales visited Australia in 1920 as a ‘thank you’ for support in WW1, charming the Australian public. In this painting, Boyd’s reference to the visit is highly allusive: only the fluttering festoons of street decoration, mere flecks of high colour, refer to the historic occasion. He captures a reflective tone, Melbourne in its post-celebratory phase. Boyd has worked up his image with rapid brushstrokes to create a sketch-like impression, the figures are quick painterly marks, and the buildings converge together as tremulous, elaborate facades. The rather bodiless pastel shades of the palette further enhance the scene’s air of transition.
An urban scene such as Queen Street is unusual in Boyd’s oeuvre. He is best known for his landscapes of Warrandyte, and coastlines of Port Phillip Bay.
Penleigh Boyd (1890-1923)
Queen Street during the Prince’s Visit, 1920
Oil on panel signed and dated lower left: Penleigh Boyd 20
28 x 44.5 cm M65