Two independent schools now formally united as the Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School were both linked artistically in Denys’s treatments:
The work of Denys Le Fevre, one of Ramsgate’s most distinguished artists is familiar to every reader of this magazine. It is found in Royal Collections, the Civic Chambers of the Cinque Ports and in books, painting and reproductions, on our walls and even on refrigerators in the UK and all over the world.
Denys is a modest and successful man who has donated his artwork freely to military and children’s charities. He generously allowed the Ramsgate Society, Town and others to use his work for their advantage although he admits he never dreamt that mats, tea towels, miniature magnets, even stamps and postcards would result.
As the son of a Master Mariner, at the age of six he had produced a series of drawings on the building of The Queen Mary and was being educated for the Merchant Navy until an attack of tuberculosis ruled out that career. The call of the sea was still strong and after studying fine and commercial art at the Sir John Cass School of Art he took a £10 assisted passage to New Zealand through the Panama Canal and Pacific. Returning to Britain through the Indian Ocean and Suez Canal he met his future wife Barbara.
As artist and senior designer for Philips Electrical Tube Company for almost 20 years, he was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts and Industry. In 1970 Denys moved to Ramsgate and began a new career as works manager in Sandwich. Twelve years on at 55, when most careers were slowing down he took up the one for which he had trained almost 40 years earlier.
In art he could combine his love for the sea, ships, design, architecture and the buildings and townscapes of Ramsgate. His work is figurative and realistic, mostly in pen and ink wash. He achieved an immediate following for his artworks, posters, limited editions, letter cards, heraldry, insignia and private commissions.
He likes to keep these private but the number of leading politicians who own his originals of the House of Commons is surprising. Numerous churches, homes, yachts, ferries and vessels have been in constant demand.
Denys also excels in heraldry and stained glass work. Local examples can be seen in the emblematic window in the Huguenot chapel at Canterbury Cathedral; the RAFA panel in St. George’s Ramsgate and in his own parish church, the remarkable memorial window 597 of St Laurence Church.
All attest to his skill and an artistic vision far beyond figurative realism. The technical detail of the St Laurence window is very clear, but even Denys was astonished to learn the Guinness Book of Records was assessing the possibility that it might contain the greatest number of individual blades of grass ever delineated in a stained glass window.
The St Laurence Church archive has a detailed plan of the churchyard whose graves defy conventional surveys. Denys’s map is microscopic in detail to accommodate narrow plots with numerous occupants over many centuries and is as remarkable as the finest mediaeval work.
|Ramsgate is twinned with the town of Conflans sur Seine, north of Paris. In June 2015 the Town recognised the long support of Barbara and Denys for the town twinning and Denys’s paintings of Conflans which of course appear in publications there. The town produced first day cover stamps of his painting of Ramsgate Harbour that is now also sold as a post card, with French copyright by Conflan sur Seine Civic Society.|