A view of Sligo Quay by Percy French (1854 – 1920)

Date: 1911
Dimensions: 34 × 24cm
Medium: Watercolours
Collection: Niland Collection
Provenance: Unknown

Description

Born into a landed family in County Roscommon, Percy French is best remembered as a poet, entertainer and song writer whose most popular composition was Where the Mountains of Mourne Sweep Down to the Sea.

In 1872 he entered Trinity College to read engineering, but his studies appear to have taken second place to his love of music and theatre and it took him eight years to graduate. Although he never studied art, French always painted and sketched in his spare time and his work was exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy on several occasions. His success as an entertainer resulted in a great deal of travel throughout Ireland, England and beyond. He painted many of the landscapes that he encountered, including scenes of New York, Quebec and Switzerland, but always returned to the boglands and rugged hills of the west of Ireland.

Like Jack B. Yeats, whose drawings on Sligo Quay are in the collection of the Model and Niland, French chose to depict an urban scene of Sligo rather than one of the more popular rural views of the area. Unlike Yeats, French seldom included figures in his compositions and as a result his work is more topographical than documentary.

Written by Riann Coulter

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