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Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810–1876)

Photo credit: Royal College of Music

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S. S. Wesley (1810–1876) was the most important nineteenth-century English composer of his generation. The illegitimate son of Samuel Wesley, Samuel Sebastian was known for his virtuoso organ playing (particularly his improvisations), his innovative church compositions – and his prickly personality. It was due largely to his awkward disposition that Wesley was constantly moving between posts: he was, at various points in his career, organist and choirmaster at Hereford, Exeter, Winchester and Gloucester cathedrals.

Royal College of Music





oil on canvas


H 142 x W 112 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

bequeathed by Francis Gwynne Wesley, 1921

Work type



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Royal College of Music

Prince Consort Road, London, Greater London SW7 2BS England

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