Arrive in Guernsey with a blank canvas, and you’re guaranteed to leave with a memorable creation. Alive with energy and with breathtaking vistas around every corner, you’ll find inspiration in abundance. Whether you’re seeking an artistic retreat, or simply wanting to discover the artistry of the island, Guernsey cannot fail to delight.
The Island has a thriving arts scene and is home to a number of highly accomplished and recognized artists. It also boasts a rich and colourful art history, with its picturesque landscapes and rugged coastlines having captivated some truly great painters.
A lasting impression
Most notably, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the celebrated French Impressionist, spent a month on Guernsey. During this time, he painted prolifically, motivated by the sheer beauty of the Island. In his distinctive style, he transferred the essence of Guernsey’s charm and unique physical character onto canvas, producing wonderful works that captured the south coast’s bays and imposing clifftops. In fact one of his painting series that portrays Moulin Huet, is now displayed in London’s National Gallery.
Perhaps the most heralded local painter in Guernsey’s vibrant past was Peter Le Lievre, whose stunning watercolours of St Peter Port present a truly remarkable visual account of harbour life during the mid 1800s. Le Lievre also designed two lighthouses for St Peter Port, but it was only after his death in 1878 that his paintings were finally exhibited publicly.
The local scene
Today, Guernsey’s arts community is as dynamic as ever. Peter Le Vasseur is one of the Island’s best known painters, and he is joined by young contemporary painters such as Peter Hawkins in leaving a lasting impression on both the local and national arts scene.
The Island is awash with artistic expression in all its forms. Many independent artists and producers enliven Guernsey’s shops and galleries with jewellery, paintings and pottery. So you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to finding that special memento to take home with you.
For the more artistic visitor, there are many painting retreats on offer. Most are provided as package holidays, with accommodation, classes and, in some cases materials all part of the deal.
What better way to take in the Island’s natural charms, than by committing your memories to canvas? Whether landscapes are your thing, or if you prefer village, or harbour scenes, Guernsey has everything you’ll need to create your masterpiece.
No art tour of the Island would be complete without a visit to the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery. With a late 19th century pleasure garden as its setting, the gallery presents some of the finest artworks from local artists such as Paul Naftel, William Caparne, William Toplis and, of course, Peter Le Lievre. There is also an impressive photographic collection.