Beranger, Gabriel (DNB00)

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BERANGER, GABRIEL (d. 1817), artist, was born in Rotterdam about 1729, and was descended from one of the Huguenots who had settled in Holland. In 1760, when he was about twenty-one years of age, he came to Ireland to join some of his relatives who had settled there, and after some time opened a print shop and artist's warehouse at 5 South Great George's Street, Dublin, where for many years he followed the profession of an artist. At that time manv of the leading men of Dublin took great interest in Irish history and antiquities. Foremost among these were General Vallancey and Colonel Burton Conyngham, who became acquainted with Beranger and were struck by his skill as an artist, his intellectual tastes, and his lively social disposition. They resolved to employ him in sketching antiquities, and as his business in George's Street was not successful, they had him appointed to a government situation in the Dublin exchequer office.

He was an indefatigable draughtsman, and, whether working for himself or for others, seems never to have passed an object of antiquarian interest without sketching it. He first drew all the antiquities of Dublin and its neighbourhood, and afterwards, accompanied by a French artist named Bigari, made several sketching tours through the counties of Leinster, Connaught, and Ulster. He was not only a good artist, but a close observer of the people among whom he travelled, and many of his drawings are accompanied by vivid descriptions of the scenery and antiquities of the places he visited, and racy notion's of his intercourse with the gentry and of the customs and manners of the peasantry. He transferred his drawings and descriptions to several manuscript volumes intended for publication, most of which are now preserved in Dublin, in the Royal Irish Academy, and elsewhere. The drawings are extremely valuable, as they preserve faithfully the appearance of ancient buildings and stone monuments as they existed a century ago, many of which are now greatly dilapidated or wholly destroyed. Dr. Petrie made much use of these drawings to illustrate his book on the round towers of Ireland.

In later life Beranger was made independent by a bequest from his brother-in-law. He died in 1817 at the age of eighty-eight, and was interred in the French burial-ground in Dublin.

[Willie's Memoir of Beranger; Petrie's Round Towers. 248.]

P. W. J.