Lillian Delevoryas was born in 1932 in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, USA of Greek immigrant parents. Her initial art training in the ‘50’s was in New York, at Pratt Institute and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. After graduation, she travelled and studied extensively in Japan, France and Greece. Now in her ‘70’s, Lillian’s repertoire covers a vast area, spanning over 50 years as an artist, which began in New York in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s with paintings of figures in interiors. During that time her work was exhibited widely in New York and San Francisco galleries. In 1970 she moved to England and has made this country her adopted home. When she came to London, her work shifted from painting to appliqué wall hangings and garments for the world of high fashion. During this period she produced many tapestries for private individuals as well as for churches. In 1972, she married the writer Robin Amis, and they moved from London to the Forest of Dean. This marked the beginning of her long and fruitful association with the English garden whose profusion of colour reinforced her already strong love of pattern. The watercolours produced during this period quickly translated into designs, and formed the basis of a tapestry needlepoint workshop in partnership with fellow American Kaffe Fassett. The tapestries produced from their designs won many awards and were exhibited widely in such places as the V & A Queens Jubilee exhibition, as well as the Royal College of Art and Courtauld House.
In the ‘80’s, her floral watercolours spun off into further areas of applied design including a range of fabrics and wall paper for Designers Guild, ceramics for Habitat and Royal Doulton, and greeting cards for Elgin Court. From the ‘90’s onwards, she was influenced more and more by the icons of Greece and Russia, and for several years, devoted herself to learning the techniques of iconography in order to penetrate its secrets as well as to sharpen her own technique in painting. This gradually led to a series of works which combined the iconesque image with images of the world. Approaching 80, when asked what the next step would be, she replied “To review my past history as an artist and to draw from each period the most important aspects which can still feed my current work, and return to these subjects in order to perfect them. In a way, it’s a kind of Proustian ‘Remembrance of things past’, where in memory, the event or subject is crystallized – stripped of everything but its essentials.”