BOY, Willem
(b. ca. 1520, Mechelen, d. 1592, Stockholm)

Biography

Willem Boy (or Guillaume Boyens), Flemish sculptor and architect, active in Sweden. He is first recorded at the court of Gustav I Vasa (reg 1523-1560) in 1557-58. Boy executed a gilded wood relief portrait of the King (Mariefred, Gripsholm Slott, Statens Porträttsamling), as well as his tomb (1562-83; Uppsala Cathedral). The latter, in red and white alabaster, is the earliest large-scale example of such a work in the Renaissance style in Sweden and is influenced by Dutch examples, with recumbent figures of the King and his two queens and an obelisk at each corner.

Boy's work as an architect included alterations to the Royal Palace, Stockholm, from 1577 to 1592 (destroyed 1697) and the castle at Svartsjö, near Stockholm (1570-90; destroyed 1687; replaced 1730s). At Stockholm, the medieval building was given columned arcading, decorative gables and richly decorated roofs for the towers. Svartsjö was reshaped into a three-storey building with a Renaissance cupola; the circular courtyard in front of the castle was surrounded by curved arcades of two storeys, and the castle was completed by seven symmetrically grouped towers with elegant roofs. The whole building was a blend of traditional Scandinavian and Renaissance architecture.

The churches of St Klara and St Jakob in Stockholm, inspired by Gothic architecture, were also the work of Boy; he may also have been involved in the redesigning of Uppsala Castle (1580s) for John III (reg 1568-1592), although not to any great extent; it is unclear how much Boy's designs for John III owe to the King's antiquarian interests.