Artist, quizzer and former Grantham College lecturer David French has died suddenly. He was 80.
Born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, after studying at his local collage of art and the Bath Academy, he trained as a teacher in Derby.
Moving to Grantham with his wife Heather and two young children in 1964, he was appointed as Lecturer in Fine Art at Grantham College.
In addition to his teaching duties, David painted racehorses in his spare time (racehorses were his first love as he always wanted to be a jockey – an ambition he never fulfilled – but it was the beginning of his love of painting at the racing animal), a period in which he depicted such legendary horses as Red Rum, Shergar and later Desert Orchid.
It was through painting racehorses that David became involved in painting greyhounds.
He was introduced to leading trainer Geoff De Mulder and this meeting became a turning point in David’s life. From depicting a few of Geoff’s dogs for their owners, demands by other owners became so great for David’s work that in 1979 he resigned from his lectureship and became a professional artist , specialising in painting the racing animal.
A commission to paint a Greyhound Derby winner is always an honour and recognition for any artist, and in 1977, David painted Balliniska Band for his owner.
Since then David painted 18 greyhound Derby winners and is the only artist in animal history to have done so, proving the high esteem in which his work is held by the sport.
Throughout his career, David was commissioned to paint countless Classic and open race winners including such household names as Ballyregan Bob and Scurlogue Champ, and was also commissioned by the B.G.R.B in 1990 to paint ‘Druids John’ which was presented to Prince Edward (now Earl of Wessex).
Since he started painting greyhounds, David produced a number of prints of his work that catered for all aspects of the breed and it is such prints that have generated such massive worldwide appreciation of his work.
And there is another area in which he was known. He became synonymous as the quizmaster for the Journal General Knowledge Quiz over past years and more recently was a squad member of the Press Gang team.
The funeral service will be held at Grantham Crematorium at 11.30am on Monday 12th August. Family flowers only. Donations to ULHT Charitable Funds c/o Stroke Unit, Lincoln County Hospital.
Arrangements by David Holland.