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    'Horse Drawn Barge on the Grand Canal Dublin' is the title of this 1896 work by Percy French. (click on image to enlarge)

    THE Percy French retrospective now on at the Oriel Gallery in Dublin features over 80 unique watercolours. This is the largest collection of his paintings ever assembled.

    A watercolourist of considerable note Percy French (1854-1920) is best known as one of Ireland’s foremost songwriters.
    Among the most famous songs which he wrote or collaborated with are Phil the Fluters Ball, Are ye right there Michael, Abdul Abulbul Amir, The Mountains of Mourne and Slattery’s Mounted Foot.
    After graduating as a civil engineer from TCD in 1881 he joined the Board of Works in Co. Cavan as an inspector of drains.   He was particularly prolific as a painter and songwriter around this period.
    Since it first opened its doors in 1968 The Oriel Gallery has successfully promoted his art.
    The retrospective, which runs until May 1, sets out to honour his achievement as an Irish landscape painter of merit, whose works have a gentle allure and captivating, atmospheric calm that is both understated and unique.
    It is comprised mostly of paintings on loan, but a small number of the works are for sale.

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