Guy Boyd, the Mark and Marker of an Artist




12. 6. 1923 — 26. 4. 1988








6. 3. 1926 — 12. 10. 2001





The Brighton General Cemetery in Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, was designed as a garden cemetery.  Twenty-nine acres of land was set aside in 1853 for the purposes of being a burial ground.  It was designed with broad avenues and bricked alleys that snake through the manicured lawns.  Along the avenues between the curbing and where the grave ledgers shelter the dead is a strip of grass referred to as a lawn.  In the North end of the cemetery along the avenue in that grassy area is a small polished gray granite marker that lies flat with the ground.  The marker has two small plaques and one bronze bas-relief sculpture.

The bas-relief is a sculpture of the pieta featuring the Virgin Mary holding the limp dead body of her son, Jesus Christ. In this sculpture Mary is lifting His body down from the Cross. Many of the pieta sculptures show Jesus lying on Mary’s lap, but this dramatic version depicts the moment Jesus was brought down, His suffering and sacrifice over.  The sculpture is highly-textured.  If it were a painting, one would say that the paint was laid on thick as to make the brush strokes visible in a technique known as impasto.

Works of art, usually sculptures, depicting this subject first began to appear in Germany in the 1300s and are referred to as “vesperbild” in German.  Images of Mary and the dead body of Jesus began to appear in Italy in the 1400s.  The most famous of these sculptures is Michelangelo’s pieta which he sculpted for St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, carved when he was only 24 years old.  Pieta is Italian for “pity.”

The polished granite “grass marker” marks the graves of Guy and Phyllis Boyd.   Guy Boyd was a noted sculptor and potter born into the famous Boyd family of artists and artisans.  His father, William Merric Boyd, was a well-known potter.  His mother, Doris Lucy Eleanor Bloomfield, was a painter.  The artistic dynasty of the Boyd’s began with his grandparents who were also painters along with a host of other relatives who were novelists, architects, sculptors, potters, and painters.  Boyd enrolled and studied sculpture at the East Sydney Technical College in 1945.  The following year he founded a commercial pottery company with commercial success.  During the next twenty years he ran a successful pottery business but was trying his hand at sculpture during that time, as well.  In 1964, after selling his pottery company, Boyd focused full time on his sculptural work becoming noted for his figurative art and his ability to “capture the fluidity and sensuality of the female form.”

After a stint of studying abroad in Europe and Asia, Boyd moved his family to Canada where he gained international fame selling his artwork in galleries of Toronto, Chicago, and New York. However, even with his much touted success overseas, Boyd decided to move his family back to Australia, actually returning to purchase and restore his grandfather’s house on Edward Street, in the beach community of Sandringham, a suburb of Melbourne.  Boyd’s work had been exhibited to much acclaim in Australian cities, such as, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, and major overseas cities of London, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, and New York. His work is represented throughout Australia including in the National Gallery of Australia and in the State galleries of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

And a sculpture, titled the “Sandringham Swimmer” stands in the Indigenous Resource Garden, a small park not far from his last home in Sandringham and is a testament to his talent for capturing the sensual form of the female body.

The Boyd family artistic dynasty continues to this day.  The bas-relief panel below the statue of the swimmer was designed by Guy Boyd but carried out by his daughter, Lenore, who is also an accomplished artist.

The Plaque on the base for the statue:



Commemoration of the

History and Heritage of Sandringham

Sandringham Swimmer – A sculpture by the late Guy Boyd who lived in Sandringham

for many years.

Sculpture Panel – A sculpture relief depicting important elements of the municipality. Concept

Developed by the late Guy Boyd and sculpted by his daughter Lenore Boyd.

Native Gardens – Many of the Australian native plants in the surrounding gardens were used by the

original aboriginal inhabitants for food and medicinal purposes.

An Australian Bicentennial project carried out with

financial assistance from Federal and State Governments

together with the City of Sandringham.

Unveiled by the Mayor of Sandringham, Cr. Michael Hanlin,

on Sunday 30th October, 1988.

This entry was posted in Famous graves. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s