Sir Arthur Bliss, CH, KCVO studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge and the RCM. After the First War he composed for a while in London and then moved to America where he met future wife, Gertrude Hoffman. They moved back to London in 1925 and Bliss continued to compose, notably the score to H.G.Wells' groundbreaking film, Things To Come (1935). He was Knighted in 1950, became Master of the Queen's Music in 1953, was awarded the Honorary Freedom of the Musicians’ Company in 1954, was made KCVO in 1969 and a Companion of Honour in 1971. He composed works for many important ceremonial events including Churchill's funeral in 1965 and the Investiture of Charles, Prince of Wales in 1969.
An unmarked patina'd plaster sculpture on a black wooden base (also unmarked) resides in the Company Office. It was given to Pastmaster Anthony Rubinstein (1924-2001) by Gustav Mahler’s granddaughter Marina Fistoulari Mahler, who was known to the Rubinstein family through its legal and musical connections. It was sculpted by Marina’s mother Anna Mahler (Gustav's daughter) and was referred to by the Rubinstein family as the
Mahler Bust. As a result it was believed at one stage to have been a posthumous bust of Gustav Mahler.
The bust was actually donated to the Company in 2014 by Anthony’s son, John in recognition of his family's association with the Musicians' Company for over a century - during which time three members served as Master (Stanley 1966; Anthony 1979; and John 2004). Following its donation, Pastmaster Leslie East investigated the bust, and identified the sitter as the conductor and composer, Arthur Bliss. Click on the image of the head above for an expanded view and compare with the photograph of the actual composer - there is definitely a resemblance.
In the biography of Anna Mahler (Click Here) it records that she had sculpted a bust of Arthur Bliss between 1939 and 1940.
To the right is a photograph of Anna in her studio in London (1948) - there is a head on the table which could very well be the Bliss sculpture! Click the photo for a larger view.
Shown below left is a photograph of Sir Arthur (on the right) receiving his Honorary Freedom of the Company from the Master, Captain Evelyn Broadwood after the Court Meeting at Fishmongers' Hall on Tuesday 13th July 1954. Below middle, is the rear of that photograph giving some provenance and on the right is a cutting from the City Press of 16th June, reporting the event.