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Australian art

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St Francis and the revels in Assisi



Arthur Boyd

Australia, England

24 Jul 1920 - 24 Apr 1999


Boyd's initial lessons in etching were with celebrated printmaker Jessie Trail at her Melbourne studio in the 1930s. However, it was not until his move to London in 1959 that he became absorbed with the expressive possibilities of printmaking, recognising this medium as indivisible from his work as a whole:
"I think it's a very good idea to be able to turn to a number of different techniques ... A new medium offers the artist a variety of keys; it allows him to re-state and sum-up without repeating himself."
- Arthur Boyd 1972

His first dry-point prints, including 'The birth of the Southern Cross' 1962-63, were made using a Stanley knife, scoring soft copper plates to create deep, richly-textured, etched lines, often overlaid with subtle areas of aquatint. Themes and images which were the mainstream of his paintings between 1941 and 1944 are reworked in etchings and lithographs made during 1962-63 and 1968-69.

These led to the publication of print sets where Boyd collaborated with historian T.S.R. Boase and poet Peter Porter over the ensuing two decades, exploring subjects which included 'St Francis of Assisi' 1964-65, 'Lysistrata' 1970, and 'Jonah' 1972-73, confirming his continuing passion for the ideas and literature of Europe.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000


Other Titles

St. Francis and the Revels of Assisi

St. Francis When Young Turning Aside



Media category


Materials used

lithograph, printed in black ink on paper




50.9 x 63.0 cm platemark; 57.2 x 79.0 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed l.r., pencil "Arthur Boyd". Not dated.


Anonymous gift 1993


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Arthur Boyd

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 7 publications


T.S.R. Boase, St Francis of Assisi, London, 1968, (illus.). plate no. I (following p.12)

Darleen Bungey, Arthur Boyd: A life, Sydney, 2007, 420-2.

Darleen Bungey, Arthur Boyd: A life, Sydney, 2007, 420-422. NOTE: General information about series

Maltzahn Gallery, London, Arthur Boyd : lithographs, etchings and engravings, London, 1969. 1; not paginated

Janet McKenzie, Arthur Boyd: Art and life, 'Collaborative projects', pg.130-55, London, 2000, 134, 135 (illus.). NOTE: this edition number is from Australian Galleries, Melbourne

Barry Pearce, Arthur Boyd retrospective, Sydney, 1993, 154. 170

Margaret Pont, Arthur Boyd & Saint Francis of Assisi: pastels, lithographs & tapestries, 1964-1974, ‘Chapter four: The Franciscan lithographs and their production’, pg. 79-82, South Yarra, 2004, 12, 79 (illus., detail), 80, 91 (illus.). plate no. XXXII; Also known as 'St. Francis When Young Turning Aside'; Image courtesy of the Bundanon Trust, NSW