A watercolourist of distinction and member of the Old Water-colour Society, Boyce was also the confidante of Rossetti, and his diaries give a lively account of twenty-five years of the artist’s life while in London and the circumstances and history of many of Rossetti’s drawings.
John Ruskin (1819-1900) and Boyce corresponded during the summer of 1854 while Boyce visited Italy and Ruskin was in Switzerland. Ruskin writes 'I am vexed at thinking that I have perhaps been partly instrumental in leading you into the expense and trouble of a long journey … But as you are in Venice, I congratulate myself, in the hope of at last seeing a piece of St Marks done as it ought to be:’ Ruskin Letter to Boyce, 14 June 1854, in V. Surtees (ed.), The Diaries of George Price Boyce, Norwich, 1980, p. 119.
Boyce travelled to Egypt in October 1861 in the company of the Swedish artist E.S. Lundgren (1815-75) and Frank Dillon (1823-1909), a pupil of James Holland. For a drawing by Rossetti given to Boyce, see lot 3. Boyce's Nocturnes at Venice and on the Nile can be seen to be anticipating those made famous by Whistler just a few years later.