'Arthur Boyd returned to Australia from England at the beginning of 1975 and lived for a year on the banks of the Shoalhaven River in New South Wales. The paintings in this collection were conceived during that year. The Narcissus paintings grew out of the subject -- water, reflections and the presence of a wild rock orchid. Some of the paintings continue early themes such as Bride drinking from a Creek.' (introduction to the 1977 exhibition catalogue)
'So as in Australian painting, as in all great landscape painting, the scenery is not painted for its own sake, but as a background of a legend and a reflection of human values.' K. Clark, introduction to Recent Australian Painting, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 1961.
In the wake of the small paintings on copper which literally fixed the Shoalhaven landscape in all its minute detail (see for example Christie's London, 16 Dec. 2008, lots 51-2, from the same 1977 Fischer Fine Art exhibition), Boyd began, with the ongoing stimulus of Porter's poetry, to introduce the moral narrative to the set. The imagery here echoes his Bride pictures and the subsequent Diana and Actaeon series of 1961, with its bestial metamorphoses. At the same time, in 1976, Boyd begins work on his Narcissus series of etchings, set in the same Shoalhaven locale, with its riverbank and reflecting pools under Pulpit Rock.