Denys Corbet

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Denys Corbet

Denys Corbet (22 May 1826 – 21 April 1909) was a Channel Islands poet, Naïve painter, and school master. He was the second son of Pierre and Susanne (née de Beaucamp) who was born at La Turquie, Vale, Guernsey, Channel Island. He married Mary "Elizabeth" Wellington (1833–1909) and had 6 children.

Corbet wrote, for the most, in the Dgernesiais language, used historically (but with little modern use) in Guernsey the Channel Islands.[1][2] Corbet described himself as the Le Draïn Rimeux (The Last Poet). He is best known for his poems, especially the epic L'Touar de Guernesy, a picaresque tour of the parishes of Guernsey and Les Feuilles de la Foret (The Leaves of the Forest) among others.

As editor of the French-language newspaper Le Bailliage, he also wrote prose columns in Dgèrnésiais under the pen name Badlagoule ("chatterbox"). Today Denys Corbet is largely known as a naïve painter of cows and rural life.

Canadian artist Christian Corbet is a cousin of Denys Corbet. Christian Corbet's 6th great grandfather Thomas Corbet was the older brother to Pierre Corbet, Denys Corbet's grandfather.

Between 30–31 May 2009 a special exhibition at the Forest Douzaine, Forest, Guernsey, Channel Islands will be held commemorating the centenary of Denys Corbet's passing. At the opening reception a contemporary portrait of Denys Corbet painted by Christian Corbet was unveiled by Hazel Cotgrove, great granddaughter of Denys'. To help commemorate this anniversary a forensic analysis and chronology was created by Christian Corbet.

A forthcoming biography by Christian Corbet is currently being written.


Christian Corbet holds an attributed self-portrait of Denys Corbet. Coll. Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery. 2006.


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