William Linley


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Born in Bath, William Linley (1771-1835) was a composer and director of theatre music. The son of Thomas Linley, he was educated at Harrow and St Paul’s School. William studied music with his father and with the composer and viol player Carl Friedrich Abel. He had a fine singing voice which inspired Samuel Taylor Coleridge to write a sonnet about him. In the late 1790s he took over his father’s post as composer to Drury Lane and wrote musical works of mostly limited success, often supplying his own librettos. He also provided the incidental music to the famous Shakespeare forgery Vortigern (1796). He settled in London in 1807 and wrote several sets of songs, elegies, glees and some sacred music. He was a member of many clubs and won a Glee Club prize in 1821 for his glee At the dread hour. He died in London in May 1835.

Thomas Lawrence (1769 -1830) was an English portrait painter. An early triumph was his portrait of Queen Charlotte (1789–90). In 1792 Lawrence became official painter to George III, and in 1794 he became the youngest person to be elected a Royal Academician. He was knighted in 1815, and in 1818 was sent to Europe as the envoy of the Prince Regent to paint the heads of state and military leaders who were involved with the allied victory over Napoleon. On his return to England in 1820 he became president of the Royal Academy.