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Malcolm Sargent

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Malcolm Sargent

by Elsie Gordon
bromide print, 1927
2 1/2 in. x 4 1/4 in. (63 mm x 107 mm)
Given by Jonathan Harvey, 1984
Photographs Collection
NPG x20656

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Elsie Gordon (active 1920s), Artist. Artist of 71 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 203 Read entry

    Sir Henry Wood spotted Malcolm Sargent's talent in 1921, when as pianist, composer and conductor the young man was organizing concerts in Leicestershire. He invited him to London to conduct at the Promenade Concert season of 1921, and from that time his career as a conductor accelerated rapidly. The next decade was a period of unremitting hard work and, indeed, pleasure, for Sargent liked to relax after a concert by dancing until dawn. It ended with a complete nervous breakdown in 1932, though two years later he was back at work with renewed vigour.

    In his career Sargent conducted many first performances of British works, among them Walton's Belshazzar's Feast (1931) and Troilus and Cressida (1954), and achieved international recognition as an artist, though in England he never fully escaped charges of superficiality. He won an enduring place, however, in the public's affection, above all for his conducting of Messiah, for his long association with the Promenade Concerts and the Huddersfield Choral Society, and for his charm and dashing appearance.

    Little is known of Elsie Gordon, an amateur photographer, who in the 1920s mixed in musical circles, and took numerous snapshots of musicians, either at rehearsal or relaxing. The Gallery owns some sixty of her prints, including a group of rare photographs of the pianist and composer Percy Grainger.

Events of 1927back to top

Current affairs

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, acknowledging the full independence of the Irish Free State, led at the time by W.T. Cosgrave, the the first President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State.

Art and science

The BBC gains its Royal Charter making it a public corporation and a public service broadcaster accountable to its audience. John Reith became the first Director General with the directive to 'inform, educate and entertain.'


Stalin expels Leon Trotsky from the Soviet Communist Party, giving himself greater control of the party and country by ousting opposition elements.

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