Catherine Quencer stands next to the locally renowned artwork “The Raffle,” which was painted in Watertown in 1895. Her great-grandfather, Michael Burns, is depicted in center. A related exhibit opens Aug. 10 with a gala at the Jefferson County Historical Society in Watertown. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — A gala opening reception of an exhibit featuring the painting “The Raffle” and honoring local Irish heritage will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Jefferson County Historical Society, 228 Washington St., Watertown.

“The Raffle” was painted in 1895 in Watertown by George H. Taggart and is important to local Irish heritage. It features three Burns brothers of Watertown. It was donated last year to the Jefferson County Historical Society. The image was reproduced in the late 1800s as a calendar and distributed nationwide.

The opening reception is $50 per person and $90 per couple.

The exhibit, which runs through October, includes other works by Mr. Taggart and items reflecting Burns family history.

Mr. Taggart was born in 1865 in Watertown. After graduating from local schools, he went to Buffalo, where he lived for three years, working as a lithographer. He then traveled to Paris and studied art there for about a decade. In 1892, he returned to Watertown and opened a studio and gallery in the Washington Hall building on Public Square. From here, he traveled widely as his fame as a portrait painter grew.

He died a childless widower at age 93 in 1958.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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