Hermia Boyd Australian Pottery bust – Venus – C. 1960
Rare Australian pottery bust, by Hermia Boyd, wife of David Boyd, modelled as a stylised torso of a woman with outstretched arms pooling water, the face with incised details and long black hair down her back, possibly a depiction of Venus. Unsigned, circa 1960
Hermia was the wife of David Boyd, son of Merric Boyd. She was heavily influenced by Classical and Byzantine art, and worked with David on exploring the Byzantine decorative sgraffito technique, with the subjects often being mythological or biblical in origin. This bust is perhaps a representation of Venus, who was born of the sea; she scoops water to her naked torso. An engraving by Hermia in the National Gallery, titled The dying Sappho 1978 (NGA 78.841.17) has a very similar figure representing a woman cradling the dying poet.