(Illustration for Peter Porter's poem 'The Narcissus emblems')
24 Jul 1920 - 24 Apr 1999
Arthur Boyd and Peter Porter, an Australian poet who has lived in England since 1951, collaborated on two books before the publication of 'Narcissus' in 1984 - 'Jonah' (1973) and 'The lady and the unicorn' (1975). They were introduced to each other by John Rosenthal, a publisher at Secker and Warburg, who suggested they collaborate on 'Jonah'.
Porter began the 'Narcissus' poems in 1976 and completed them in 1979. He wrote in 1987: "Only when I first began to work with Arthur Boyd did I find that there is a fulfilling way of collaborating, and that it requires each artist to go his own way, the resultant works being counterpointed rather than harmonised". (Hendrik Kolenberg, 'Works on paper' in Barry Pearce, 'Arthur Boyd retrospective', AGNSW, 1993, pg. 163-64). The story is set on the banks of the Shoalhaven River on the South Coast of NSW, near Boyd's home and studio at Bundanon.
In this print, etching and drypoint are added to with lines made using a technique developed by Boyd in 1968-69, whereby a solution of kerosene and oil is applied to the plate with a brush, to remove the ground., resulting in a deeply bitten line. This is combined with aquatint and burnishing to create mood and subtlety of tone. Boyd made a series of 24 prints on the theme; there are two related works in the Gallery's collection, both first state proofs.
Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, 'Australian prints from the Gallery's collection', AGNSW, 1998
The Narcissus emblems
XIV The Narcissus emblems
etching, aquatint, printed in black ink on white Arches paper
artist's proof for edition of 25
60.5 x 42.6 cm platemark; 79.4 x 59.2 cm sheet
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Anonymous gift 1993
Not on display
© Reproduced with permission of Bundanon Trust
Referenced in 7 publications
Gavin Wilson, Rivers + Rocks : select works of Arthur Boyd & Brett Whiteley, ‘Rivers + Rocks’, pg. 9-60, New South Wales, 2001, 4 (colour illus.), 20, 32. NOTE: Collection of Bundanon Trust; Titled 'XIV The Narcissus emblems'
Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, Sydney, 1999, 197 (illus.).
Arthur Boyd: A life, Sydney, 2007, 510, 513-515. NOTE: General reference on Narcissus series.
Arthur Boyd retrospective, Sydney, 1993, 156. cat.no. 185
The art of Arthur Boyd, 'Part III: 1971-1983', pg 64-86, London, 1986, (illus.). plate 178; dated 1983; titled 'The Narcissus Emblems: '... eaten myself off the water's top'
Narcissus, London, 1984, 31 (illus.).
Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 104 (illus.). cat.no. 88