Sunday 5 April 2015

              Oval Plaster Relief of Handel at the Soane Museum.

The plaster relief of Handel at the Soane Museum, Lincolns Inn Fields, London since before 1837
26 x 23 inches. Although there is no concrete evidence, this has been I believe fairly safely ascribed to Roubiliac.
This fine relief of Handel in contemporary dress appear to be based on the facial features of the portrait bust of Handel by Roubiliac at Gloucester cathedral, although the dress is quite different.
Note particularly the curl by the ear and the parting in the hair. The Gloucester Cathedral plaster appears to be closely related to the Grimsthorpe Castle terracotta but until I can obtain good photographs of that bust it is impossible to make true comparisons.
Profile photograph of the plaster bust of Handel currently in the Bridge Chapel at Gloucester Cathedral.
 A silver pass, Handel Centenary Festival,1784, bust of Handel bare-head profile left, COMM. G. F. HANDEL/ MDCCLXXXIV, rev. SUB. / AUSP. / G. III, within oak wreath border, 33 mm.
The medal was struck on the centenary festival in commemoration of the birth of Handel, held in May and June 1784 in Westminster Abbey and at the Pantheon. The medal figures on the frontispiece of Dr Burney's Account of the Festival, published in 1785.
The catalogue  by Jacob Simon for the 1985 Handel Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery gives the following explanation for these passes, seventeen of which were made from the original die with the initial G omitted before Handel's name "eight in gold went to the King and Queen, the five directors and the conductor, Joah Bates, while the remainder in silver were given to the eight sub-directors and the architect, James Wyatt. A further five hundred medals, from a new die, were given to the principal performers". Only one of the original seventeen specimens has been traced and is in collection of the British Museum.
Image and description lifted from the excellent website of London dealer Timothy Millet
This medallion is based on one of the recently discovered plaster busts of Handel perhaps by John Cheere based on an early bust of Handel perhaps by Roubiliac, sold by me and now at the Handel Haus Museum in Halle, Germany . See below and earlier entries in this Blog
Bust of Handel here ascribed to John Cheere, but based, perhaps on a slightly earlier version by Roubiliac circa 1740.
George Frideric Handel by Francesco Bartolozzi, after Edward Francisco Burney engraving, 1784.

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