His first distinction was as a potter, briefly, with the Martin Boyd Pottery and then with his wife Hermia. The pair held their first exhibition in Sydney in 1948 and during the 50s and 60s came to be regarded as the leading potters in Australia. David Boyd’s first serious painting commenced with the Explorer series, a group of symbolic paintings of the Australian explorers.
A storm of controversy erupted in Australia over these paintings and also over his subsequent work, which was based on the tragic history of the Tasmanian Aborigines. “Monoliths”, a painting from this series, won him the Italian Government Art Scholarship Prize for Australia in 1961. David Boyd moved to Rome with his wife and family in 1962 and he continued painting this series.
Paintings from “The Tasmanians” were exhibited to critical acclaim in solo exhibitions in London and Paris in 1963. Since then Boyd has held many major exhibitions throughout Australia, England and France. His work has been included in numerous international exhibitions and is represented in major public art galleries, museums and university collections throughout the world. He died in 2011.