William Percy French Paintings

William Percy French was an Irish songwriter, entertainer, and artist, recognized for his humorous and nostalgic songs, as well as his watercolor paintings. Born on May 1, 1854, in Roscommon, Ireland, French was educated at Foyle College in Derry and later studied engineering at Trinity College Dublin. Although he trained as an engineer, his passion for art and performance soon took precedence.

French's career as an entertainer began in earnest when he started to perform his own compositions while working as an inspector of drains in County Cavan. His best-known song, 'The Mountains of Mourne,' remains a classic in Irish folk music. His other popular songs include 'Are Ye Right There Michael?' and 'Phil the Fluter’s Ball,' which capture the whimsy and humor of rural Irish life.

Apart from his musical talents, French was a skilled watercolorist. He often painted scenes of the Irish landscape, and his work was characterized by a light, atmospheric quality. He exhibited regularly and his paintings were well received, increasing his popularity and helping to establish his reputation as a talented artist.

French toured extensively, performing his songs and recitals throughout Ireland and Great Britain, and gained a reputation for his engaging stage presence. His performances were characterized by his witty storytelling and ability to connect with audiences.

Tragically, French's life was marked by personal losses, including the untimely death of his first wife, Ettie, and one of his daughters. Despite these hardships, he continued to create and perform until his own death on January 24, 1920, in Formby, Lancashire, England. William Percy French left behind a rich legacy of music and art that continues to be celebrated in Ireland and beyond.