Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Cecil, Arthur

CECIL, ARTHUR, whose real name was Arthur Cecil Blunt (1843–1896), actor, born near London in 1843, played as an amateur at the Richmond theatre and elsewhere, and made, as Arthur Cecil, on Easter Monday 1869, his first professional appearance at the Gallery of Illustration with the German Reeds as Mr. Churchmouse in Mr. Gilbert's 'No Cards,' and Box in the musical rendering of 'Box and Cox' by Mr. Burnand and Sir Arthur Sullivan. In 1874 he joined the company at the Globe, appearing on 24 Jan. as Jonathan Wagstaff in Mr. Gilbert's 'Committed for Trial,' and playing on 6 April Mr. Justice Jones in Albery's 'Wig and Gown.' At the Gaiety on 19 Dec. he was Dr. Caius, and in the following February, at the Opera Comique, Touchstone. Other parts in which he was seen were Sir Harcourt Courtly in 'London Assurance,' Monsieur Jacques in the musical piece so named, Duke Anatole in the 'Island of Bachelors,' Charles in Byron's 'Oil and Vinegar,' Sir Peter Teazle, Tony Lumpkin, and Tourbillon in 'To Parents and Guardians.' At the Globe on 15 April 1876 he was the first Dr. Downward in Wilkie Collins's 'Miss Gwilt,' having previously at the Haymarket on 5 Feb. played Chappuis in Taylor's 'Anne Boleyn.' On 30 Sept. at the Prince of Wales's he was in 'Peril' the first Sir Woodbine Grafton. The Rev. Noel Haygarth in the 'Vicarage' followed on 31 March 1877, and Baron Stein in 'Diplomacy' on 12 Jan. 1878. There also he played Sam Gerridge in 'Caste' and Tom Dibbles in 'Good for Nothing.' On 27 Sept. 1879 he was the first John Hamond, M.P., in 'Duty.' At the opening by the Bancrofts of the Haymarket on 31 Jan. 1880 he played Graves in 'Money.' He was Lord Ptarmigan in 'Society,' and Demarets in 'Plot and Passion.' At the Court theatre, in the management of which he was subsequently associated with John Clayton [q. v. Suppl.], he was on 24 Sept. 1881 the first Baron Verduret in 'Honour.' At this house he was the first Connor Hennessy in the 'Rector' on 24 March 1883, and subsequently played Mr. Guyon in the 'Millionaire,' Richard Blackburn in 'Margery's Lovers,' Buxton Scott in 'Young Mrs. Winthrop,' Lord Henry Tober in the 'Opal Ring,' Mr. Posket in the 'Magistrate,' Vere Queckett in the ' School-mistress,' and Blore in ' Dandy Dick.' The theatre then closed. When, under Mrs. John Wood and Mr. A. Chudleigh, the new house opened (24 Sept. 1888), he was the first Miles Henniker in 'Mamma.' On 7 Feb. 1889 he played at the Comedy Pickwick in a cantata so named. At the Court he was S. Berkeley Brue in 'Aunt Jack' on 13 July, Sir Julian Twembley in the 'Cabinet Minister' on 23 April 1890, the Duke of Donoway in the 'Volcano' on 14 March 1891, and Stuart Crosse in the 'Late Lamented' on 6 May. At the Comedy he was on 21 April 1892 the first Charles Deakin in the 'Widow,' and at the Court Sir James Bramston in the 'Guardsman' on 20 Oct. On 18 Feb. 1893 he repeated at the Garrick Baron Stein. He suffered much from gout, died at the Orleans Club, Brighton, on 16 April 1896, and was buried at Mortlake. In addition to his performances, the list of which is not quite complete, he gave entertainments in society and wrote songs which had some vogue. He was a thorough artist and a clever actor, more remarkable for neatness than robustness or strength.

[Personal knowledge; Pascoe's Dramatic List; Cook's Nights at the Play; Scott and Howard's Blanchard; Dramatic Peerage; The Theatre, various years; Era Almanack, various years; Sunday Times, various years; Hollingshead's Gaiety Chronicles.]

J. K.