Martin Boyd

Martin Boyd
Martin Boyd
Born 10 June 1893
Died 3 June 1972
Other names Martin Mills
Occupation Architect, writer, biographer
Parents Arthur Merric Boyd & Emma Minnie à Beckett

Martin à Beckett Boyd (10 June 1893 – 3 June 1972) was a member of Australia’s most prolific artistic dynasty of painters, sculptors, potters, writers, architects, graphic designers and musicians.

He was born in Lucerne, Switzerland, the youngest son of Arthur Merric Boyd (1862–1940) and Emma Minnie à Beckett (1858–1936). His siblings included the potter William Merric Boyd (1888–1959), painters Theodore Penleigh Boyd (1890–1923) and Helen à Beckett Read, née Boyd (1903–1999).

Brought up in Melbourne and trained as an architect, Boyd left to serve in World War I. After the war he settled in England and, apart from a brief period between 1948 and 1951, remained in England and continental Europe, dying in Rome on 3 June 1972.

Martin Boyd never married but took a keen interest in the development of his nephews and nieces and their families, including potter Lucy Beck (b. 1916), painter Arthur Boyd (1920–1999), sculptor Guy Boyd (1923–1988), painter David Boyd (b. 1924), painter Mary Nolan (b. 1926), and architect Robin Boyd (1919–1971). On his death he appointed Guy as his literary executor.

In 1928 under the pseudonym Martin Mills he won the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal for his novel The Montforts, a novel based on the history of Boyd’s à Beckett ancestors. In 1957, as Martin Boyd again won the ALS Gold Medal award for A Difficult Young Man.


Martin Boyd’s writings included:

  • Brangane: A Memoir (by Martin Mills, pseudonym), 1926, a novel based on the life of Australian writer Barbara Baynton.
  • The Montforts (by Martin Mills, pseudonym), 1928 and revised 1963.
  • A Single Flame, 1939, an autobiography.
  • Lucinda Brayford, 1946.
  • The “Langton” novels:
The Cardboard Crown, 1952;
A Difficult Young Man, 1955;
Outbreak of Love, 1957;
When Blackbirds Sing, 1962.
  • Day of My Delight: An Anglo-Australian Memoir, 1965, another autobiography.


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