A scholar at the Royal College of Music from the age of 16, Malcolm Arnold (1921–2006) studied trumpet with Ernest Halland and composition with Patrick Hadley and Gordon Jacob. He soon acquired a formidable reputation as an orchestral trumpet player. However, in 1948 Arnold decided to dedicate himself solely to composition. His prolific output included nine symphonies, many concertos, some much-loved chamber music for wind and brass, pieces for children and amateur orchestras as well as dozens of film scores. Arnold was knighted in 1993.
Ken Jones was born in Ilford in 1944, but spent most of his childhood in Dagenham. He trained at the Walthamstow Art School, specialising at first in stone-carving, but since then he has worked in many media. His vivid and complex portrait of the composer was created recently, based on extensive sketches undertaken in 2001 for another, rather different, portrait of Arnold that now hangs in the Guildhall at Northampton. His portraits of Arnold are affectionate tributes to a composer he greatly admired, and in making the donation he wished to acknowledge the College's role in fostering Arnold's gifts.