Born into the famous family of piano makers, Lucy Broadwood (1858-1929) became one of the chief collectors and scholars of the first English folk music revival in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Privately educated and trained as a classical musician and singer, she was inspired by her uncle to collect local song from her native Sussex.
The desire to rescue folk song from an aging population led to the foundation of the Folk Song Society, of which she was a founder member.
Mentor to younger collectors such as Percy Grainger but often at loggerheads with fellow collector Cecil Sharp and the young Ralph Vaughan Williams, she eventually ventured into Ireland and Scotland, while remaining an eclectic contributor and editor of the Society's Journal, which became a flagship for scholarly publication of folksong.
She also published arrangements of folk songs and her own compositions which attracted the attention of singers such as Harry Plunket Greene. Using an array of primary sources including the diaries Broadwood kept throughout her adult life, Dorothy de Val provides a lively biography which sheds new light on her early years and chronicles her later busy social, artistic and musical life while acknowledging the underlying vulnerability of single women at this time. Her account reveals an intelligent, generous though reserved woman who, with the help of her friends, emerged from the constraints of a Victorian upbringing to meet the challenges of the modern world.