Friday 3 July 2015

A Few Portraits of Handel

 A Few Portraits of Handel.

Handel attributed to Thornhill (doubtful whether by Thornhill or of Handel)

Handel by Phillip Mercier (1689 -1760).

127 x 101.6cms
Viscount Fitzharris.
Copy in Handel Haus Museum, Halle Germany.

Given by Handel to Thomas Harris Lawyer of Lincolns Inn in 1748 who also owned a plaster bust of Handel by Roubiliac. Thomas Harris was a long term friend of Handel and witnessed his wills.
 By descent from Harris's nephew, the first Earl of Malmsbury to the Viscount Fitzharris

Once thought to be by Hudson but this portrait has been downgraded to possibly by
Francis van der Myn (1719 - 83).
77 x 64.3 cms.
Royal Society of Musicians

 Balthasar Denner c. 1726 - 28.

National Portrait Gallery.

74.9 × 62.6 cm

Thomas Hudson, 1756. The 'Gopsall Hall' portrait painted for Charles Jennens.
Jennens had an enormous influence on Handel’s life and work. As librettist for the oratorios Saul and Belshazzar, he provided the composer with words that inspired some of his most challenging and exciting music.

Oil on canvas, 94 x 57 ½ in. (2388 x 1461 mm); pale brownish-blue eyes, bushy dark brown eyebrows, protruding lower lip, blue shadow on upper lip, cheek and chin, fresh complexion, white wig parted in the centre; white lace cravat and wrist ruffles, grey velvet suit with gold lace edging, waistcoat unbuttoned, black tricorn hat under left arm, his right hand clasps the top of a stout gold-headed cane; a tall chair backed with blue velvet, a table, left, with an open book lettered MESSIAH, black curtain behind drawn back from an opening, left, reveals a stone balustrade with foliage beyond and a pale blue sky with low pink cloud.

Signed and dated on the stone step, bottom left: T. Hudson Pinxt:/1756; a stencil 632 FS is on the stretcher.

This is the second Hudson type, presumably commissioned by Charles Jennens c.1756. A small whole length sketch is in the Royal collection (Millar, 556) and copies  include a head and shoulders, Royal collection (Millar, 558), a head in the Fitzwilliam attributed to Grisoni and NPG 8 The sketch might have been part of the Smith bequest to George III but since it was apparently only recorded in 1876, this cannot be confirmed.

Hudson certainly made two portraits of Handel. In April 1750 he offered the Foundling Hospital a portrait for which the composer had agreed to sit  but none is known to have been acquired in Handel's lifetime,  and nothing more was heard of this. The first and better known type can be dated from an engraving by Andrew Miller (CS 927) lettered Thos. Hudson Pinxit London 1747, published in Dublin, 1749. An impression was known to Breun but there is no example in the British Museum. A rare early state of the engraving by Faber junior is dated 1748 (CS 51) but the original has not been identified with certainty. A three-quarter length given to Oxford University by Samuel Howard before 1778  does not appear to be from Hudson's hand. A more convincing oil corresponding closely to Faber's engraving entered the Staats und Universitäts-Bibliotek, Hamburg in 1883. Reputedly bought by, or sent to, Handel's family in Halle, it was acquired through the composer's biographer Chrysander for a public collection. It appears to be inscribed, or possibly signed and dated, 1747 or 1749. According to Dr Burmeister, of the Hamburg Bibliotek, the last figure is '9' whereas the photograph seems to read T Hudson Pinxit 1747 . The head looks very good although the treatment of the coat is unusually hard for Hudson.


Portrait of Handel by Thomas Hudson

Royal Collection, currently with the Handel House Museum, Brook Street, Mayfair London.

At NPG since 1858 after Thomas Hudson,
Purchased Graves, Pall Mall.

Oil on canvas, 48 7/8 x 39 7/8 in. (1242 x 1013 mm); as NPG 3970  the wig greyer, his right hand gloved and holding the other glove, also the head of a cane. A stencil 121, possibly the remains of a larger figure, in black, on the top stretcher bar.

The picture appears to be an early, somewhat coarse, copy of NPG 3970 rather than a canvas produced in the studio under Hudson's supervision. Kerslake.

Handel c. 1737 by Georg Andreas Wolfgang the younger of Augsburg who visited London in 1737

Portrait of Handel by Thomas Hudson 1748.
121 x 100.5cms.
Signed on the left of the table leg - T Hudson Pinxit 1749.
Staats und Univeritatsbibliothek, Hamburg

Believed to have been taken to Germany in 1750 and given to his relatives in Halle on his last visit to Germany in 1750.

One of two portraits by Hudson the most fashionable portrait painter of the day who also painted the portraits of Handel's fellow Opera  associates Senesino, Pepusch, in the 1730's Susannah Cibber in 1749, John Beard in 1743, and Charles Jennens in 1747. Hudson was also an Opera enthusiast, fellow art collector they both had an interest in old masters. Hudson owned the terracotta model of Handel for Roubiac's statue at Vauxhall.

 Handel by Hudso engraved by Faber 1749.

Miniature of Handel by Dresden miniaturist, Christain Friedrich Zinke (1683 -1767), Height 1 inch.
Exhibited at the Masterpiece fair, London 2014 by Dealer Elle Shushan from Philadelphia

Joseph Goupy (1680 -1770). The Harmonious Boar after 1743.
39.4 x 32.4 cms.
given to Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 1919.

Probably the picture in Goupy sale, Mr Hobbs 23 March 1765 lot 39. An Hog Playing on an Organ, with various Embelishments,, all emblematical; noted by Horace Walpole.
Puttick and Simpson, 29 Jan 1858, lot 201, by Edward F Rimboult.

Either the cause or result of a contretemps between Goupy and Handel.

This version dated 1754

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