Harriet Cohen CBE FRAM (1895-1967) studied at the Royal Academy of Music. Noted for her performances of Bach and modern English music, she was an advocate of the works of Arnold Bax, and in 1933 also premiered Vaughan Williams's Piano Concerto, which was dedicated to her. She injured her right hand in 1948 and played one-handed until her retirement in 1960. Her memoirs, A Bundle of Time, were published just prior to her death.

Harriet Cohen bequeathed a large collection of paintings, some photographs and her gold bracelet to the Academy, with a request that the room in which the paintings were to be housed be named the Arnold Bax Room. The collection comprises works by British and French artists of the late-19th to mid-20th century, including paintings by William Scott, Marc Chagall, Marie Laurencin, Edward Wolfe, Duncan Grant and Josef Hermann.