Yvonne Boyd, nee Lennie, was the daughter of a banker, who nevertheless developed a finely tuned social conscience. After leaving school she enrolled in classes at the National Gallery School. Here she met the young radicals Joy Hester and Albert Tucker, and also the exotic refugee from Hitler’s expansion into Europe, Josl Bergner. Despite her sheltered background, she was acutely aware of political issues and retained a lifelong belief in pacifism and a distaste for capitalism.
Lennie was an outstanding student and won several prizes for her drawing. In 1942 she joined a fellow student, John Perceval, and enrolled in a life drawing class at the Commercial Artists Association. Here she met another student, Arthur Boyd.
They married in 1945, and as she recognised his talent as greater than hers she then ceased to see herself as an artist. She became the administrator of her husband’s creative output, supporting him in all that he did. She also actively encouraged their three children to take the risky life of an artist over a more secure future.
Her belief in the public good over private benefit meant that she and Arthur Boyd jointly decided to give their large wilderness property, Bundanon, to the nation in 1993.


Joanna Mendelssohn
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