Diana Devonshire: Teacher and Artist, 'Mrs Devonshire' to many former St Mary's pupils

Written by Sophie Devonshire on .

Diana DevonshireDiana Devonshire


Those who attended Ramsbury School or St Mary’s School in the 1980s will remember ‘Mrs Devonshire’, an inspiring primary school teacher who loved children and who taught them a love of nature and art and to be creative, curious and independent.


But there was more to Diana than this.  When she retired from teaching in 1997, it was not an end but a new beginning.  She entered an exciting phase when she took the opportunity to pursue her first love, art, and to build on early promise shown before becoming a teacher.  After studying Fine Art as a mature student at Cheltenham College she developed advanced skills and techniques that enabled her to express her love of the landscape such as the Marlborough Downs in sculptural ceramics.

She described herself as a painter who worked in clay. Her beautiful ceramic pots were inspired by the landscape.  Although her work was sculptural in character, she saw the colours, surface and forms as a painter, patinating her work with layers of slips and oxides.

Diana Devonshire with one of her stunning worksDiana Devonshire with one of her stunning worksDiana was very serious about her art and became an active member of the Marlborough Open Studios for many years, exhibiting her ceramic artwork in her Mildenhall home and her beautiful garden (her artistic talent also extended to her stunning garden).  

She was involved in the community in other ways and recently was instrumental in designing a new Mildenhall playground – an inspiring space for both children and adults of the village to congregate and play or get active.

Diana Devonshire died in the early hours of Thursday 30th November 2017.  Her devoted husband of 54 years Brian Devonshire was by her side, as well as her three children (Sarah, Andy and Sophie) and two of her grandchildren (Isobel and Tom).

She had been fighting a spirited battle with cancer for a number of years after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, and in recent months had known that her time was limited, so had spent time with her family and her six much adored grandchildren (aged between 9 and 21). She will be much missed but will live on in those she has loved and inspired.

A celebration of Diana's life will take place in Mildenhall Church on Friday the 8thDecember at 2pm and then at the Horseshoe Pub in Mildenhall.  No flowers please as her family would prefer contributions in her memory to Cancer Research UK. Cheques to Dianne Mackinder Funeral Service, Wagon Yard, Marlborough, SN8 1LH or please leave your memories and donate online at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/dianadevonshire.