Cecil French was born in Dublin and trained as an artist at the Royal Academy Schools, London, and at Sir Hubert von Herkomer's School at Bushey, Hertfordshire. On 30 June 1953 the Fulham Public Libraries Committee accepted with thanks Cecil French's offer of six works by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, for display in the libraries. French's offer was a response to the Council's positive attempts to preserve The Grange, Burne-Jones's house in North End Lane which sadly, after French's death, came to nothing. In his will, dated 19 January 1952, French instructed one of his executors, Rowland Alston, Curator of The Watts Gallery, Compton, to distribute the remainder of his paintings, following specific bequests, to museums. Thus, in February 1954, Fulham received a bequest of a further 47 works (both paintings and drawings), the majority of which were by Burne-Jones.