Tenor and composer Gabriele Mario Piozzi was born on 8 June 1740 in Quinzano d’Oglio, Brescia. The family later moved to Venice. Having started his career as an opera singer, composer, and teacher, he moved to London around 1776. A year later, he was introduced to Hester Lynch Thrale at a party hosted by his friend Charles Burney.
The cultured Welsh wife of wealthy brewer and politician Henry Thrale, she hired Gabriele as teacher of singing for her daughter Hetty [‘Queeny’] Thrale. Three years after the death of her husband in April 1781 Hester created a scandal by marrying the Catholic singer, presenting herself as Hester Lynch Piozzi. Her daughter and most companions were critical of her decision, including Samuel Johnson, an old family friend.
Having spent some time in Italy together, the couple settled at Hester’s Streatham Park estate in Wandsworth where they lived until 1795. They then took up residence in North Wales on Hester’s historical Bach-y-Graig estate (inherited from her mother in 1773). Piozzi died in March 1809.