ONE of the world’s most renowned bone china artists has died.

Diane Lewis died suddenly at her home in Mathon, near Malvern aged 77.

Born in Worcester, her career in the creative world of bone china began when she joined the city’s famous Royal Worcester factory, starting her career as a trainee flower maker in 1953. However, her talent for design soon led to Mrs Lewis becoming a senior flower designer, making flowers by hand for attachment to original sculptures.

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

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

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

It was then a natural progression for her to open her own factory, Connoisseur, which was based in Ledbury, with her then husband Terry. This soon gained the accolade of being among the finest ceramic studios in the world with many of Mrs Lewis's limited edition works finding their way into the homes of the rich, powerful and famous, from film stars and world leaders to Royal households both in the UK and overseas.

As well as her creations being bought by many famous people throughout the world, they have also been presented to such luminaries as Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Princess Diana and former American 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, including 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.

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

The funeral service will take place on Wednesday, January 21, at St John the Baptist Church in Mathon, at 2pm and will be followed by interment.