Leo Frank Schuster

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Frank Schuster (24 September 1852 – 26 December 1927), was a music-lover and patron of the arts in the United Kingdom. His home overlooking St James's Park[1] at 22 Old Queen Street, London, part of which now contains offices of The Spectator magazine, became a meeting-place for artists, writers and musicians, including Siegfried Sassoon, John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert, Sir Edward Elgar and Sir Adrian Boult. He was a particular patron of Edward Elgar.[2]

Leo Francis Howard Schuster was born at 151 King's Road, Brighton[3] and baptised at St John's parish church, Penge Surrey, on 19 November 1852. He was the only son of Mary née Howard, Fakenham Norfolk-born second wife of Leo Schuster, a London banker and long a naturalised citizen, born 1792 in Frankurt am Main died London 27 February 1871.[4] The two children of Leo's first wife, Emilie, were baptised aged 3 and 1 on 10 December 1833 at Mosley Street Unitarian church Manchester. They were to marry, respectively, the eldest daughter of an Earl (Orkney) and a baronet.

He was educated at Eton College and was homosexual as were many of his friends. Like Sassoon, Schuster was of Jewish descent. In 1924, knowing that Sassoon was suffering from depression, Schuster made him the gift of his first car. He also allowed Sassoon to stay at his popular country retreat, The Hut, opposite Monkey Island at Bray-on-Thames, but the two were never lovers.

Edward Elgar statue, Hereford

Schuster also had many heterosexual friends. He was a close friend and travelling companion of composer Edward Elgar, and helped foster Elgar's popularity in the years leading up to World War I. Elgar dedicated his concert-overture "In the South (Alassio)", completed in 1904, to Schuster. No longer rich when he died he ensured Elgar's old age would be provided for. Adrian Boult and Edward Elgar first met at Schuster's house in 1905.

One of the stories retold by The Spectator when it moved into 22 Queen Street in 2007:
"Boult liked to tell of how Schuster's sense of humour landed him in trouble with the ballad-singer Kennerley Rumford, with whom he had been at school. Joining in the craze for bicycling — embraced by both Elgar and Mahler — they went out for a ride and Rumford said he had decided to give his bicycle a name. 'I shall call it Santley (a famous baritone) because it is a Singer.' Schuster retorted, 'I will call mine Clara Butt because it isn't.' He was aware the joke fell flat and realised why a few weeks later when he read the announcement of the engagement between Rumford and Miss Butt."[2]

He died at Hove Lawn, Cromwell Road, Hove, on 26 December 1927 following an operation.[5] In their obituary section The Times a few days later published two lengthy letters written by friends.[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Chancery Division. The Times, Tuesday, Feb 11, 1919; pg. 2; Issue 42021
  2. ^ a b pages 11 and 12, The Spectator, 3 February 2007
  3. ^ Births.The Times, Monday, Sep 27, 1852; pg. 7; Issue 21231
  4. ^ Money-Market & City Intelligence. The Times , Tuesday, Feb 28, 1871; pg. 10; Issue 26998
  5. ^ Deaths. The Times, Friday, Dec 30, 1927; pg. 1; Issue 44777
  6. ^ Mr. L. F. Schuster. The Times, Monday, Jan 02, 1928; pg. 19; Issue 44779