North Down Museum Takes Ownership of Percy French Collection

The Mayor and members of Percy French Society

North Down Museum is delighted to have recently acquired permanent ownership of the Percy French Collection. The collection which has been on loan to the museum for the past 25 years was donated to the museum by The Percy French Society.

Percy French is remembered and celebrated worldwide for his most famous song ‘The Mountains of Mourne’, but he was also an acclaimed poet, painter and all round entertainer. 

The collection consists of about 90 watercolours and 800 items of memorabilia including musical instruments, letters, programmes, photographs and diaries.  The items were collected by the society over 40 years from a combination of donations from Percy’s daughters and also by purchasing from auctions.  

Commenting on the donation, The Mayor of Ards and North Down Councillor Karen Douglas said: ‘I am delighted that North Down Museum has received this important collection and I would like to thank The Percy French Society for this fantastic opportunity. The museum has housed and looked after the collection for the past 25 years and it will now remain permanently in its care for future generations to enjoy.’

David McShane from the Percy French Society said: ‘As Percy French once said ‘remember me is all I ask’ and it is in this spirit that the Percy French society have decided to gift our incredible collection to North Down Museum, so that his life and work are remembered and by future generations.’

Arlene Matthews, Manager of North Down Museum also commented: ‘We are delighted to accept this fascinating donation into our museum’s permanent collection.  We look forward to exploring and celebrating the truly unique talent that was Percy French.’

An exhibition celebrating the life and works of Percy French has just opened in The Long Gallery at North Down Museum. The launch of the exhibition was marked by an event attended by members of The Percy French Society and Ards and North Down Borough Council. The event also celebrated the donation of the collection to North Down Museum.

The exhibition runs until 1 May. Admission is free.

Photo Caption:

Pictured at the launch of the new Percy French Exhibition at North Down Museum were The Mayor of Ards and North, Councillor Karen Douglas with Berrie O’Neill, David McShane and Norman Cairns from The Percy French Society. The event also celebrated the donation of the entire Percy French Collection to the museum.

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