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25th Jun, 2022

Malvern bone china artist who had creations in The White House, dies at 77

Malvern Editorial 21st Jan, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

ONE OF the world’s most renowned bone china artists has died at her home in Malvern.

Diane Lewis passed away suddenly on Monday, January 5, at her home in Mathon aged 77.

Born in Worcester, her career in the world of bone china began when she first worked at the city’s famous Royal Worcester factory.

She started as a trainee flower maker in 1953 but her creative talent soon led to her becoming a senior flower designer which involved making flowers by hand for attachment to original sculptures.

From 1955 to 1965 her reputation grew as she worked on sculptured birds by British potter Dorothy Doughty which eventually led to her first floral designs, a series of alpine flowers, going on public display in London.

In 1969 she became a founding member of Cranleigh Art Ceramics which was bought out by Edward Marshall Boehm of America a year later. It was at this stage Diane became one of the original quartet to start the new British subsidiary of Boehm, called Boehm of Malvern.

She was Boehm’s chief floral designer and it was her foresight which saw the successful introduction of hand-made bone china flowers into their world famous collection.

It was then a natural progression for her to open her own factory in Ledbury, called Connoisseur, with her then husband Terry. This soon gained the accolade of being among the finest ceramic studios in the world with many of Diane’s limited edition works finding their way into the homes of the rich, powerful and famous from film stars to world leaders.

As well as her creations being bought by many famous people throughout the world, they have also been presented to such dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Princess Diana and former United States presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George Bush.

Her work can also be found in many museums and world famous buildings such as the Vatican, the Royal Palace at Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Tokyo’s National Arts Centre, and also at Royal residences in the UK such as Buckingham Palace, Balmoral and the Castle of Mey.

In America her creations are housed in The White House, the Smithsonian Institute, the Bing Crosby Trust Garden, the Dean Martin Trust at Thousand Oaks and the JF Kennedy Centre, Washington.

She is survived by her daughter Melinda, grandchildren Max and Madelaine and son Martyn, who has carried on the family tradition of working in the art and decorative accessory industry.

A funeral service will take place today (Wednesday) at St John the Baptist Church in Mathon at 2pm and will be followed by interment.

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