When Julian Bream (b.1933) enrolled as a student at the Royal College of Music, classical guitar was not offered as a principal study. In the years following his London début concert in 1950, Bream's tireless work promoting first the guitar and subsequently the lute have been largely responsible for the rise in profile of these instruments and their repertoire. In particular, his performances with Peter Pears of Elizabethan lute songs, and with the Julian Bream Consort, led to both a revival of interest in these areas of repertoire, and numerous new works for guitar by composers including Arnold, Britten, Tippett, Takemitsu and Walton.
Philip Hicks (b.1928) studied at the Chelsea and RA schools. This portrait montage dates from a transitional period in his output where he became increasingly concerned with 'the expression of mood through colour, together with abstract configuration'. The work features abstract shapes taken from the guitar itself, as well as other images reflecting Bream's private and professional life.