A Brush with Life: The Art of Peter Le Vasseur

By Jason Monaghan and Peter Le Vasseur (artist)

An introduction to the rich and thought-provoking work of the Guernsey artist Peter Le Vasseur.

ISBN: 9780718896089


Peter Le Vasseur’s art depicts the beauty of the world and the pressure that humankind exerts upon it. Not content with merely creating highly researched nature art, his work carries an ecological message often ahead of its time. Unusually for an artist he builds in the detail of contemporary life during the decades through which he has lived, painting in a meticulous and distinct style.

He escaped the Channel Island of Guernsey with his parents just before the German Occupation in 1940 and grew up in London as a refugee. Winning a scholarship to art college he went on to create pop art for one-man shows in major London galleries and sold to the Beatles, film stars and aristocracy.

In A Brush With Life, Jason Monaghan presents the definitive work on Le Vasseur’s life and work, charting his progression from pop art and fantasy to political pieces, book illustration and environmental paintings. Never depressing, the messages of both artist and author are thoughtful, and sometimes ironically amusing. Throughout, Le Vasseur’s central philosophy is evident: where nature survives, hope remains.

Additional information

Dimensions 254 × 203 mm
Pages 100
Illustrations b&w and colour

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Trade Information LGENPOD

About the Author

Dr Jason Monaghan is an author and archaeologist. He was previously Director of Guernsey Museums, and has published textbooks and academic papers ranging from Roman pottery to shipwrecks as well as historical thrillers. His recent publications include Occupation to Liberation, which showcases the WW2 photographs, art and artefacts held by Guernsey Museum.


Foreword by Lee Durrell

1. Peter in Wonderland
2. ‘You Don’t Know Who You Are’
3. A Brush With Life
4. Into the Future

Acknowledgements and Sponsors’ Notes


Articles and Media

  • Listen to Jason Monaghan and Peter Le Vasseur discussing A Brush with Life on BBC Radio Guernsey (starts from 26:30, to 47:40)
    Interview with the Authors

Endorsements and Reviews

Who knows how Peter’s recognition as a top artist would have turned out had he, as a 2-year-old, not been evacuated from the soon-to-be occupied Guernsey in WW2 to London. It was here that his exceptional talent was spotted in the early 50’s by his teacher. A Brush with Life encapsulates so many of Peter’s paintings along with the deep meanings he wants to share with us. A wonderful insight into the real Peter Le Vasseur.
Dame Mary Perkins, Founder, Specsavers

Peter’s paintings are full of vibrant colours and beauty. Under the surface there are provoking and subtle messages, bursting to be heard. Jason Monaghan draws our attention to Peter’s warnings of the ugliness of human mismanagement and exploitation, driven by man’s greed and ignorance. However, Peter manages to combine these powerful emotions and still create beautiful and desirable art. I am in awe.
Eric, Lord de Saumarez