Arne, Thomas Augustine
- Peter Holman
- and Todd Gilman
( b London, March 12, 1710; d London, March 5, 1778). English composer, violinist and keyboard player . He was the most significant figure in 18th-century English theatre music.
Arne inherited his first name from his grandfather and father, London upholsterers and undertakers and office holders in the London Company of Upholders. As a child he adopted the middle name Augustine, apparently to show his allegiance to the Roman Catholic faith of his mother, Anne. His father rented a large house in King Street, Covent Garden, where he ran a thriving business, the Two Crowns and Cushions, although he apparently allowed his own father and brother Edward to die in debtors' prisons. According to Charles Burney, who became his apprentice in 1744, Arne was sent to Eton, where a passion for music soon became evident: he tormented his fellow pupils ‘night and day’ by playing the recorder, practised the spinet secretly at night during the holidays, ‘muffling the strings with a handkerchief’, and studied composition on his own before taking violin lessons with Michael Christian Festing; Burney wrote that Arne and Festing were both present on ...