Peter Le Lievre

Peter Le Lievre

Peter Le Lievre’s paintings transport us back to a vanished past. His exquisite watercolours capture the dramatic and vivid beauty of Guernsey’s cliffs, bays, and country lanes, as well as the colourful lives of its people.

During his life Le Lievre found little fame as an artist, but was well known locally as a merchant and dedicated parish official. He served as Constable of St Peter Port from 1846-47, and was elected to the Douzaine. He was a member of the Committees of the States of Guernsey for the construction of the new Harbour and the Town Markets, and also supported education and religion, becoming a founding member of the Mechanics’ Institute and the Churchwarden for the Town Church in 1856.

With his public life so busy, Le Lievre kept his artistic talents firmly in the background – painting was his hobby, something he enjoyed purely for relaxation, and he was remarkably self-effacing and even reticent about sharing his work with others.

He mostly painted in the fast-drying medium of watercolour, bringing to life a wide variety of island scenes including fishermen and vraic gatherers at Rocquaine, stormy seas around Castle Cornet, and the farms and lanes of the island’s rural interior.

These paintings are among 27 that were bequeathed to the Guille-Allès Library by Peter Le Lievre’s sister, Mary. Together with four artworks by Paul Naftel, one of Le Lievre’s contemporaries, these paintings were exhibited at the Library shortly after arriving in 1904 – the first ever exhibition of Le Lievre’s work, 27 years after his death.