Thursday, 17 May 2012

Dennis Endean Ivall (1921-2006), artist and art teacher

Dennis was a grandson of William Ivall (1859-1940), who was a brother of George Ivall (1853-1932), my great grandfather. Dennis’s parents were William Charles Ivall (1883-1968) and his wife Florence Bessie Ivall nee Endean (1885-1960). I made contact with Dennis in 2004, soon after I started my research into the Ivall family. We never met, although we spoke by phone. He kindly supplied me with a copy of the excellent research on Ivall family history he had done between 1955 and 1986. This was enormously helpful.
Dennis Ivall

Dennis’s son David sent me a copy of the tribute below.

Tribute to Dennis Endean Ivall, who passed away on 6th February 2006, aged 84 years, read at his funeral at St. Piran’s Church, Perranarworthal

Dennis Endean Ivall was born in Essex in 1921, the youngest of four children.  His father was then an accountant with ICI and his mother was a member of the Endean family of St. Agnes, so he visited Cornwall for holidays from an early age.  He attended the Sir George Monoux Grammar School in Chingford, and then joined ICI.  In the Second World War he enlisted in the Ordnance Corps, seeing active service in the retreat from Burma, and later in Ceylon and the Cocos Islands, where he reached the rank of Warrant Officer, First Class.

After the war he trained as an artist and art teacher, and it was at this period that he became engaged to Irene Lloyd-Jones, the sister of his best friend from school.  Although she went out to Australia for a year, he was waiting on her return, and they married in 1952.  Working at first as a freelance artist, he later became an art teacher in Barnstaple, North Devon – the nearest to Cornwall that he could get at the time.  It was while living at Barnstaple that their two sons were born – David and Gerard.
In 1973, Dennis took early retirement and moved to Cornwall, living at first at Ponsanooth and then for thirty years at Perranwell.  He worked as a designer, a record agent and principally as a heraldic artist and designer, only retiring from this work when suffering from illness in the last three years of his life.

Heraldic art was his great passion, and he carried out the design and painting of coats of arms for many clients across the world.  He was the author of the book Cornish Heraldry and Symbolism and, among the work he carried out in Cornwall, was the painting of the organ panels at Cuby church, the repainting of the coat of arms at St.Dennis after the fire and the design and painting of a banner for St.Agnes and, of course, the banner of St. Piran in this church.

Heraldry and his military service gave rise to an interest in army insignia and badges and, with Professor Charles Thomas, he was the author and illustrator of Military Insignia of Cornwall.  He was a founder member of the Cornwall Militaria Group, and a long serving member of the Perranarworthal branch of the British Legion.
His enthusiasm for heraldry led Dennis to join the Order of St.Lazarus, an international charitable order founded in the Holy Land.  He was a member of the Commandery of Avalon in the West Country, and became Judge of Arms of the Commandery, of the Bailiwick of England and then of the whole order worldwide, attaining the rank of Knight Grand Cross.   
His other great interest was family history, and in his researches over the years he succeeded in tracing his Ivall ancestors back to the seventeenth century in Hampshire, and his Endean ancestors in Cornwall back to the fifteenth century.  He was a founder member of the Cornwall Family History Society, a committee member for a number of years and, among his projects for the Society, he and Irene recorded and plotted all the memorial inscriptions in Perranarworthal churchyard.  He also studied the Cornish language, becoming a bard of the Cornish Gorseth, and served on the Gorseth Council. 

Although he was such a talented artist, with a worldwide clientele, he was always ready to lend his talents to local activities, whether painting scenery for Carnon Downs Drama Group, drawing posters for the Women’s Institute or touching up the lettering on the war memorial. 

Dennis is survived by Irene, his wife for over fifty years, his two sons and his elder sister in America.  He will be remembered by them as a loving, gentle man, always supportive, never criticising.  He will be remembered by everyone else as someone always cheerful, always with a friendly word or a joke (even if not a very good one), always ready to help.  We shall miss him.


AdironDoc said...

Those with a fascination for heraldic art are few. Those with the ability to create it, fewer. I was told more than once by heraldic artists that Dennis was among the most talented of our time. The wonderful work he did for me seems to bear that out. He made his mark and his legacy endures.

Mike Mouat said...

I have two of his pieces on my wall passed down from my grandfather.