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Kathleen Ferrier at a Concert

10 of 15 portraits of Kathleen Ferrier

Kathleen Ferrier at a Concert, by Bernard Dunstan, 1950 - NPG 5043 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Kathleen Ferrier at a Concert

by Bernard Dunstan
oil on board, 1950
7 1/4 in. x 9 in. (184 mm x 229 mm)
Purchased, 1975
Primary Collection
NPG 5043

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  • Bernard Dunstan (1920-), Painter. Artist of 11 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

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Ferrier, who began her working life at fourteen as a Post Office telephonist, became one of the most popular contralto singers of the mid-twentieth century. An accomplished amateur pianist, she worked as a piano teacher after her marriage in 1935. Soon after she won a prize for her singing, and, beginning in 1937, progressed from local to national and eventually international fame as a singer. Benjamin Britten composed The Rape of Lucretia for her which she sang at Glyneborne in 1946. Known for her remarkable technical control and the richness of her voice, Ferrier died of cancer aged only forty-one. This oil sketch by Bernard Dunstan shows her in concert.

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