Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

1 portrait on display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, by Walter Wallis, 1881 - NPG 5724 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

by Walter Wallis
oil on canvas, 1881
10 1/8 in. x 8 1/8 in. (256 mm x 205 mm) overall
Purchased, 1984
Primary Collection
NPG 5724


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Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was the son of a doctor from Sierra Leone and an English mother. As a child he learnt the violin and sung in the church choir and in 1890 entered the Royal College of Music to study the violin and composition. He was still a student when his works began to be played in public, one of which was Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, the first part of his Hiawatha trilogy, a treatment of Longfellow's verse (1898). The completed trilogy brought him an international reputation. A composer of opera, orchestral, church and chamber music Coleridge-Taylor also wrote incidental music for the romantic plays at His Majesty's Theatre. In 1904 he was appointed conductor of the Handel Society, a post he combined with his role as a music teacher in Croydon, the town where he lived and died.

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