Portrait of composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor gifted to Camden’s Local Studies and Archives Centre

A portrait of Camden-born composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor has been donated to our Local Studies and Archives Centre by artist Judith Booth and will be celebrated with an evening of music and talks open to all.

Born in Camden in 1875, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor is generally regarded as the foremost Black British classical music composer of the 19th and 20th centuries. His musical talent and affinity were apparent from early on and at the age of 15 he started studying at the Royal College of Music. He went on to become a successful and renowned composer both in Britain and internationally.

He was heavily influenced by his African ancestry, and he often drew inspiration from traditional African music. Despite sadly facing racism throughout his career, he toured the United States and met President Theodore Roosevelt in the White House – which was a rare occurrence at the time for someone of African descent.

Councillor Sabrina Francis, Cabinet Member for Young People and Culture

Thank you to Judith Booth for donating this portrait, we are delighted to be able to help raise awareness of such an important figure in in Camden’s history. It’s a great addition to our collection at the Local Studies & Archives Centre and I hope many visitors will pause to read his inspirational story.

Councillor Sabrina Francis, Cabinet Member for Young People and Culture

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor is part of our borough’s rich Black history and we want to invite the public to celebrate his life and music with us this Black History Season. His portrait will be received by Councillor Sabrina Francis on behalf of Camden Council during an event open to the public on Thursday, 11 October 6.30pm – 8pm.

This free event will be held at the Camden Local Studies & Archives Centre, (2nd Floor, Holborn Library, 32-38 Theobalds Road, WC1X 8PA) and will feature a talk by Hilary Burrage, who as Chair of the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation has worked for the past quarter-century to raise awareness of Coleridge Taylor’s contributions to the musical life of the UK and further afield. Those in attendance will also be able to listen to a performance of excerpts from Coleridge-Taylor’s works by Richard Gordon-Smith (violin) and Martin Anthony Burrage (keyboard).