BOYD, Theodore Penleigh (1890-1923)

BOYD, Theodore Penleigh (1890-1923)
always known as Penleigh Boyd
was born in Wiltshire, England, on 15 August 1890, the eldest son of an artist, Arthur Merric Boyd (q.v.). His mother, also a painter of ability, was a daughter of the Hon. W. A. C. à'Beckett, M.L.C. Penleigh Boyd was educated at Haileybury College, Melbourne, and the Hutchins School, Hobart, and in 1905 entered the Melbourne national gallery schools, where he studied for four years under Frederick McCubbin (q.v.) and L. Bernard Hall (q.v.). When only 19 years of age he held an exhibition of his work at the Guildhall, Melbourne, which was successful, and he sailed for England before reaching his twenty-first birthday. A large landscape "Springtime" was hung at the exhibition of the Royal Academy of 1911. Boyd then went to Paris and studied at the Académie Colarossi, received good advice from E. P. Fox (q.v.), and was much interested in the French painting of the period, though it had little effect on his work. In 1912 he married Edith Gerard Anderson and after a tour in Europe returned to Australia in 1913. He held another successful show of his work, and soon afterwards won the second prize at the competition for a picture of the site of Canberra, organized by the federal government. He also won the Wynne prize at Sydney in the following year. He enlisted for active service in 1915, was severely gassed in September 1917, and invalided to Australia in 1918. He established himself at Warrandyte near Melbourne and continued a successful career as a painter. In July 1923 he brought out from Europe a large collection of paintings by well-known artists which was shown at Melbourne and Sydney. He died after a motor accident on 28 November 1923. His wife survived him with two sons.
Boyd painted successfully both in water-colours and in oils, but will be remembered chiefly for his work in the latter medium. He worked with great facility, from the beginning painting seemed to have no difficulties for him. His drawing was good, he had a natural sense of arrangement, and a first rate feeling for colour. His slightly theatrical "Breath of Spring" in the Melbourne gallery scarcely does him justice; he is better represented at Sydney, and examples of his work will also be found in the galleries at Adelaide, Geelong and Castlemaine.
J. S. MacDonald, The Landscapes of Penleigh Boyd; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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