Tuesday 14 July 2015

A Plaster Bust of Handel after Roubiliac
at the Gipsformerei der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin.
Perhaps mid 19th Century cast by Aurelio Micheli.
A photograph of indeterminate age of a plaster bust of Handel after Roubiliac provided to me by Gipsformerei der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin.

Slightly shorter than the terracotta - no button on the collar.
This was the master from which the bust at the Handel Haus Museum in Halle Germany was cast from (see below). It was made for Handel-Haus in 1997 by the gipsformerei (plaster workshop) of the Stiftung Preutgischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin, and that plaster was cast after a bust in their collection bearing the signature of the German sculptor, Aurelio (Mark Aurelius) Micheli (1834-1908, fl 1860-70), who specialised in portraits of notable Germans, many of them composers, and whose works appear to have been issued in multiples produced by the plaster workshop of the Micheli Brothers in Berlin.
It is not clear whether this is a photograph of the original cast taken by Aurelio Micheli in the mid 19th century.
For the current catalogues of  the Gipsformerie catalogue see http://ww2.smb.museum/GF/index.php
The Grimsthorpe Terracotta bust of Handel
With a button on the collar - missing on the Berlin Bust.

The Handel Haus Halle Museum plaster bust of Handel after Roubiliac which was taken from the mid 19th century Aurelio Micheli bust.
Below for comparison the Royal Collection marble bust by John Bacon with a slightly longer trunk.

  An old photograph of the marble bust in the Royal Collection.


The Gloucester Cathedral Plaster Bust of Handel 
At first glance this bust appears very similar to the busts above, but close inspection shows this bust 
has the head tilted downwards and slight differences in the folds of the clothing. No button on the collar
The plaster busts shown here all appear to derive from the same prototype but one cannot be sure if the prototype was the Grimsthorpe terracotta bust or another very similar missing terracotta bust.



Marble Bust of Handel

Royal Collection

No button on the collar

There is no direct evidence that this bust is by Roubiliac and it has been attributed to John Bacon.

Handel's most important patron was George III, who placed this bust of his favourite composer in a position of honour in Buckingham House, on top of the organ in Queen Charlotte’s Breakfast Room.


Possibly acquired by George III.

I think this attribution to Bacon is unlikely