Burke and Wills in the Desert
- David Boyd
- Burke and Wills in the Desert
- oil on composition board
- 77. x 112.5 cm
signed lower left: David Boyd
private collection, South Australia
Nancy Benko, The Art of David Boyd, A Lidmus Publication, Adelaide, 1973, p.28, col.illus. p. 21
This major painting from David Boyd’s The Explorer series, one of eight that he painted, depicts the tragic story of the British explorers’ journey into the Australian centre. With distinctive verve Boyd makes serious use of this tale, but as with much of his work he embellishes the composition with an allegorical, often biblical resonance, which results in a pictorial intensity counterbalanced by a sense of subdued mockery. The strange bird descending on Burke and Wills dire state of starvation at Coopers Creek, is more akin to an exotic creature from Lewis Carroll’s story The Hunting of the Snark, a rooster-like harbinger of peril rather than a bird of paradise, but its presence nevertheless unifies the picture.
Extract from the catalogue essay by Dr Sheridan Palmer, 2017.
Copyright Lucinda Boyd.