Wednesday 31 May 1995
At Sherborne School, Boyd developed his musical skills, becoming an accomplished pianist and organist. At Durham University he studied archaeology and theology, undecided then which to make his career. In the event he rejected both, and moved into the retail trade; he worked first for Harrods before moving on for a productive period with Terence Conran at Habitat, then in its heady early days, attracted by the idea of a retail business which efficiently sold well-designed objects at reasonable cost. An interest in antiques, in particular 18th- and early 19th-century ceramics, led Boyd and Graham to open a shop in Somerset in the late 1970s, and in the mid-1980s they moved to St Judes, a tiny shop and basement in Kensington Church Street, which became one of London's leading ceramic specialists.
With an interest in visual art, they became aware of a gap in the market, as most art galleries refused to show images of the male figure. Gradually ceramics gave way to figurative art, with the gallery specialising in Old Master and academic drawings of the male figure, many done in the 19th century, as well as work by living artists. With no financial backing, it was always a high-risk endeavour, but both partners were totally committed to the project.
Their exhibition programme was varied and imaginative. As well as the male nudes, there were exhibitions of delightful, but little-known drawings by Cecil Beaton, and studies of the male figure by Keith Vaughan, introducing the work of these distinguished artists to a new audience. The majority of the shows featured the work of young or lesser-known painters. Over the years, these included the delicate, sensitive water-colours of David Hutter and the fresh, bold and sexy oils of Philip Core. Notable artists showing in a gallery for the first time included Peter Samuelson, Gavin Marghfling and Stuart Bullen.
Sadly, St Judes closed in 1993, but in the last few years Boyd was able to make a memorable visit to the Bayreuth Festival, and to travel down the Nile on a barge. His humanist concerns, his wry humour, but above all his devotion to art concerned with the qualities of the human spirit in all its diversity, have left a lasting mark on the London art scene, opening up fresh areas of interest, and confronting much of the prejudice around the figurative work. Boyd was a pioneer who was fearless in fighting to promote the art and artists in which he believed.
Small in stature and with a wiry figure, Stephen Boyd was a fighter, both in the way he worked for and persisted in the schemes he thought important, and in his battle against encroaching poor health and physical incapacity brought on by Aids-related illness.
Stephen Boyd, art dealer: born Sutton, Surrey 17 September 1946; died London 18 May 1995.
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Glasgow 'riots': 'Dishonest' social media users accused of fuelling panic with pictures from London riots
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...
£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...