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Artist and merchant Peter Le Lievre led a busy life
South coast cliffs by Peter Le Lievre
Peter's watercolours featured many views of Guernsey

Peter Le Lievre was know in his time as one of St Peter Port's most renowned businessmen and politicians.

However, he also had a less well-known talent for painting throughout his life, which was only celebrated after his death.

In February 2010 his part in Guernsey's history was marked with the announcement that a blue plaque at his former home.

Peter Le Lievre's work included more than 200 paintings and sketches.

The blue plaque in commemoration of Mr Lievre was to be placed at 17 Hauteville where he lived for his whole life.

Cow Lane by Peter Le Lievre
As well as views of the countryside Peter also painted parts of town

After his education at Elizabeth College he joined the family business selling wine and took over the business from his father in 1848.

This position as head of family business meant he was both a well-known and well respected man in the island's business community, which led to his involvement in the construction of both the town market and the new harbour for which he also designed two lighthouses.

His role as a businessman was not all Peter was known for during his lifetime as he was also a warden of the Town Church, member of the douzaine and constable of the parish.

His role in the church was not limited to being warden as he was also treasurer of the Sunday school and, following his death, his involvement was marked by the donation of a lectern to the church in his memory in 1879.

As well as his work for the church and parish, Peter Le Lievre also found time to become the Lt Col in command of the Royal Guernsey Artillery Regiment, was a founder member of the island's mechanics' institute, a member of the Elizabeth College board of directors and was one of Guernsey's chief authorities on stalk-eyed crustaceans.

Cliffs by Peter Lievre
Some of Peter's pictures went unseen until 26 years after his death

In his spare time Peter Le Lievre was also a keen artist, though this was something that went uncelebrated in his lifetime.

Though some of his works were used in books, including Tupper's History of Guernsey and Andsted an Latham's The Channel Islands, the first exhibition of his paintings did not take place until 26 years after his death.

The lack of celebration seemed to be a result of his own reticence to promote his work.

The catalogue for that first exhibition summed up Peter's attitude to his work saying: "These pictures were executed simply as a labour of love, in his hours of relaxation."

Since his death in 1878 his artwork has become more locally celebrated for its view back at a specific period in Guernsey's history.

This article was based on research by the Guernsey Museum.

Blue plaque memorial for artist
15 Feb 10 |  Guernsey
The story of the Guernsey markets
04 Dec 09 |  History


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