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Thomas Attwood

DETAILS

Object name
Maker
Date
1810–1820
Object number
PPHC000002
Acquisition
Gift from Smart, Margaret Rose — 1888

Description

The English composer and organist Thomas Attwood (1765–1838) is perhaps most famous for being a pupil of Mozart, who remarked that he was ‘a young man for whom I have a sincere affection and esteem; he conducts himself with great propriety [... and] he partakes more of my style than any scholar I ever had; and I predict that he will prove a sound musician.’ Following his studies in Naples and Vienna, Attwood returned to England where he benefited from royal patronage: he was appointed music teacher to the Duchess of York in 1791, and to the Princess of Wales four years later. In 1796, he was made organist of St Paul’s Cathedral, in which capacity he played at, and composed music for, the funeral of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson in 1805. He became composer to the Chapel Royal in 1797, and was also a founding member and director of the Philharmonic Society in 1813. The portrait was presented to the Royal College of Music in 1888 by Margaret Rose Smart, the only child of the conductor and organist Sir George Thomas Smart (1776–1867). Smart was a chorister of the Chapel Royal in the 1780s, and subsequently acted as a deputy, on occasion, for the chief organist of Westminster Abbey. It is possible that Smart acquired the painting personally from Attwood.

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