Thomas Augustine Arne (b. London, bap. 28 May 1710; d 5 March 1778)
Thomas Arne was an English composer with a flair for dramatic music and song. He was the Son of an upholsterer, and his father had intended for him to study Law. It has been said that he studied music in secret, and his violin teacher Michael Festing was his main source of encouragement. After acquiring proficiency in playing the violin and keyboard instruments, his father withdrew his objections and Arne was able to pursue a career in Music.
Arne gave both his brother and sister singing lessons, and they went on to appear in his first work Rosamond, (1733). During my research, I was interested to learn that his sister Susannah Maria Arne became the celebrated actress Mrs Cibber, who had a long stage partnership with David Garrick and can be seen in six portraits at the National Art Gallery, London.
In Arne’s late twenties, he was engaged to write musical works for Drury Lane Theatre in Covent Garden. His light, pleasing melodic style was apparent in many of his works. You may be familiar with one song “Rule, Britannia”, which was from his masque “Alfred”.
Side Note: A Masque was a form of entertainment to be held at social gatherings that involved masked performers of dance, speech and music. It later evolved to involve elaborate machinery and paved the way to the genre of opera and theatre as we know it today.