This portrait of Franz Liszt in old age is housed in the Arts Club, Dover Street, London - a venue I found myself playing in last week. Over the years I have become aware that Liszt visited these shores several times and remember seeing framed posters in Norwich Assembly Halls and a theatre in Limerick advertising his visits. Researching this a little, it seems that there was hardly anywhere at which his stage coach did not stop at least once.
In his early years he covered the length and breath of the country several times over together with a troop of performers giving performances similar to this one in Stamford:
I was unaware until recently that he returned several times later on in life (even as late as 1886 - the year he died) and just how many concerts he gave in London alone. In fact these included one in the very room in Dover Street I found myself in recently. It was in London that the words "Piano Recital" were first used to advertise Liszt's solo appearances. It seems that the critics were quite confounded by the spectacle, reporting that Liszt would leave the platform after every piece and chat with the audience! Some found this a "curious exhibition" but the Athenium guaged the importance of these events commenting "we cannot call to mind any other artist who could thus, by his own unassisted power, attract and engage an audience for a couple of hours".