Saturday 03 April 2010
My husband, the artist Lewis Davies, who died on 22 February having been taken ill just before Christmas, was probably best known in Norfolk for his illustrations and presentation of the epic poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and for the elephant in Norwich he and I painted. There were more than 50 large model elephants around the city two summers ago and we painted one using the Ancient Mariner designs. The elephants were auctioned for charity and ours went for £3,800.
Lewis and I went to live in Cromer seven years ago and loved it there. He had always been keen on painting outdoors in the countryside and exhibited locally in various galleries. He was also keen on architecture and found the Norfolk churches endlessly fascinating, painting and drawing dramatic views of these buildings, especially in North Norfolk. Our house contains stacks of paintings including works in progress, some of which are of a more pointed and political nature. He was not happy unless he could paint, draw or model every day.
Lewis trained at Walthamstow School of Art with such tutors as Peter Blake and Bill Jacklin and had worked for many years in Adult Education, building a flourishing art and ceramic department in Waltham Forest, where his enthusiasm and commitment inspired all his classes. Many of his students became his friends and indeed came to Cromer to carry on painting and drawing. He was loved for his warm personality and his often quirky sense of humour. One of our grand-daughters, herself now an art student, described him as "an awesome granddad".
His other passion was history. He was especially knowledgeable about medieval times and loved all forms of medieval art, recreating in ceramics some of the exquisite small ivories of that time. He and I spent many holidays in Europe's great cultural centres; we especially loved Italy, where we enjoyed spending last September in Florence and Assisi before Lewis became ill.
He died of cancer, but without pain and peacefully in hospital, aged 71, leaving our son Griff and his wife Terry, and two grand-daughters, Rosa and Leni.
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