Sarah Bates (singer)

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Sarah Bates
Angelica Kauffmann - Portrait of Sarah Harrop (Mrs. Bates) as a Muse - Google Art Project.jpg
Angelica Kauffman, Portrait of Sarah Harrop (Mrs. Bates) as a Muse, ca. 1780-81, in the Princeton University Art Museum
Background information
Birth name Sarah Harrop
Born Lancashire
Died 11 December 1811(1811-12-11)
Occupation(s) Singer

Sarah Bates (née Harrop, October 1758 - 11 December 1811) was an English singer born in Lancashire. She was married to the conductor Joah Bates.

Early life and education[edit]

Sarah Harrop was born at Woodbrook, Saddleworth on the western edge of Yorkshire (now in Lancashire), to Robert and Elizabeth Harrop. Her father was a clothier and her brother, Robert, was the organist for the nearby Hey Chapel. She was educated in Halifax, West Yorkshire, the birthplace of her husband, and worked for some time in a factory in that town.

Singing career[edit]

Sarah Bates Pether.jpg

On one occasion she sang in public in Halifax where she was heard by Dr. Howard, of Leicester, who prophesied that she would one day throw all the English, nay even the Italian female singers far behind her. While she resumed her ordinary occupations, Dr. Howard sounded her praises in London, until at last the Sandwich Catch Club deputed him to bring her to London, where she met with very great success. In London she studied Italian music under Sacchini, and the compositions of Handel and the older masters under her future husband.

She was a successful concert singer, both before and after her marriage with Joah Bates, which took place in 1780. Her chief success was made in sacred music, which she delivered with much impressiveness. Among her secular songs the most famous was Purcell's "Mad Bess".

Angelica Kauffman painted a portrait depicting her as Erato, the muse of lyric poetry, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1781 and is now in the possession of the Princeton University Art Museum.[1]


She died at Foley Place on 11 December 1811.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Bates, Sarah". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

  1. ^ Rosasco, Betsy. "Portrait of Sarah Harrop (Mrs. Bates) as a Muse, ca. 1780-81". Princeton University Art Museum catalogue. Retrieved 4 August 2011.