Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Arne, Cecilia

ARNE, CECILIA (1711–1789), the eldest daughter of Charles Young, organist of All-hallows, Barking, was a pupil of Geminiani. Her first appearance at Drury Lane took place in 1730, and in 1736 she married Dr. Arne. She took the part of Sabrina at the first performance of her husband's setting of 'Comus' at Drury Lane, 4 March 1738, and she also sang at Clieveden 1 Aug. 1740, when 'Alfred' and the 'Judgment of Paris' were produced before the Prince and Princess of Wales. In 1742 Mrs. Arne accompanied her husband to Dublin, where she sang with great success both in operas and concerts. On her return, 'Alfred' was performed for her benefit at Drury Lane, 20 March 1745. In the same year she was engaged at Vauxhall Gardens, where she increased her reputation by her admirable singing of her husband's songs and ballads. Soon after this she seems to have given up singing in public, as her place was taken by Dr. Arne's pupils, of whom Miss Brent was the most distinguished. She survived her husband, by whom she was left badly off, and died at the house of Barthelemon at Vauxhall, 6 Oct. 1789. In the judgment of her contemporaries, Cecilia Arne was one of the most pleasing of the English singers of her day. She was often called 'the nightingale of the stage,' and her voice was said to be 'unequalled for melody, fulness, and flexibility.'

[Grove's Dictionary, i. 84; Dibdin's Musical Tour, 1778; Davies's Memoirs of Garrick, ii. p. 171, 1808; Gentleman's Magazine, 1789; Genest's History of the Stage, 1832.]

W. B. S.