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Françoise Henry (1934 – 1982)

One of the most important twentieth-century historians of Irish art

FRANCOISE HENRY (1934 – 1982)

Francoise Henry

Françoise Henry was one of the most important twentieth-century historians of Irish art. She trained at the École du Louvre and the Sorbonne, establishing herself as an expert on very early forms of sculptural decoration, particularly in Early Christian Irish Art.

A visit to Ireland in 1926 inspired her doctoral thesis and subsequent life's work. Her significant legacy to the history of Irish illumination is embodied in her final study of the Book of Kells (1974), which became her most acclaimed work. She died on 10 February 1982.

Famously camera shy Françoise Henry was initially quite difficult to draw as there was only one photo of her at the start of the project. However, throughout the process more images turned up, including a sculpture of her by the artist Dhomhnaill O’Murchu at NCAD in the Director’s office.