Amy Woodforde-Finden

Amy Woodforde-Finden
Amy Woodforde-Finden

Amy Woodforde-Finden was born Amy Ward, and was descended by marriage from the Revd Heighes Woodforde, vicar of Epsom and canon at Chichester.

She is known as a prolific composer of `eastern ditties,' which effectively captured the mood and morals of the period.  Born at Valparaiso in Chile, she composed songs including O Flower of All the World, Golden Hours, The Lover in Damascus, and The Pagoda of Flowers. She is probably best known for her set of Indian Love Lyrics' with words by Lawrence Hope.  Of the four lyrics, Kashmiri Song proved an instant hit.

Heighes' youngest son, Revd John Woodforde, sometime rector of North Curry in Somerset, married Rebecca Hamilton and had five children. Their eldest son was Dr Robert Woodforde who married Sarah Wright. Their eldest son, Dr John Woodforde of Bridgwater, also in Somerset, had four children of whom the youngest was Melliora Woodforde. She married George Corfield Finden sometime of Gloucester Terrace, Hyde Park, London. She was one of nine children.

Their only son was Lt Col Woodford Woodforde-Finden (1846-1916), a brigadier and surgeon,who married Amy Ward. He served with the 11 Bengal Cavalry, the 2nd Gurkhas. He died on 27 April 1916 after which her mother relocated Amy and the family back to London.

Around that time Amy displayed a skill for composition and became a student of Carl Schloesser and Amy Horrocks. Her early work was published under the name of Amy Ward.

Cover of Kasmiri Foxtrot music sheet
Cover of Kasmiri Foxtrot music sheet
The alabaster tomb of Amy Woodforde-Finden at Hampsthwaite, North Yorkshire
The alabaster tomb of Amy Woodforde-Finden at Hampsthwaite, North Yorkshire
Amy Woodforde-Finden
Amy Woodforde-Finden

The Indian Love Lyrics were originally self-published in 1902 but because of its popularity and the influence of Hamilton Earle, were eventually published by Boosey & Co. The popularity of the Kashmiri Songs and kept her in the good graces of her publishing house and in the hearts of her audience.

Her songs are noted for their sentimentality, their romantic fluidity and how they blend a particularly British, middle class sensibility with an Asian pastiche. In the years that followed the success of Kashmiri Songs Amy composed On Jhelum River, The Pagoda of Flowers and Stars of the Desert.

The year 1916 was a bittersweet one for Amy.  Her husband died in April, and her work was featured in the film Less Than Dust.  This was the first of her compositions to be showcased in film.  In 1943 Kashmiri Songs was used in the film Hers To Hold.