Sir William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875), composer, pianist, conductor and music educator, was a frequent visitor to Southampton in the mid 19th century, and often corresponded with his friend and fellow composer Felix Mendelsohn from the town. In 1841 Bennett became engaged to Mary Ann Wood, daughter of Commander James Wood of the Royal Navy, who lived at Hill House near the corner of Commercial Road and Hill Lane. In April 1844 he married Mary at All Saints Church in Southampton. In July 1853 he was staying at 13 Hannover Buildings when he was offered the conductorship of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, which he declined because of other engagements. He was painted by the Southampton-born artist John Everett Millais in 1873 (image below).

William Sterndale Bennett

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Portrait by John Everett Millais, 1873.

see also

Newspaper clippings:
Southampton Literary and Philosophical Society. Lecture on "Sterndale Bennett" - (Hampshire Independent 04/11/1916)

Further reading:
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, volume 5.
The Southampton connections of William Sterndale Bennett: appendix to ‘Bedford Mews and Southampton Riding School: a mid-nineteenth equestrian enclave in Carlton Place’, by Richard Preston, (Southampton Occasional Papers no. 2)


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