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  • image M280

Attributed to Louis François Roubiliac (1702 - 1762), sculptor

Medallion portrait of the composer George Frideric Handel (1685–1759)

Plaster, painted in imitation of terracotta

Inscription: GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL

Museum number: M280

Curatorial note

This portrait medallion has been attributed to Roubiliac since at least the early twentieth century although Soane's inventories c.1835-37 do not record the sculptor's name. Since no sitters books survive for Roubiliac it cannot be securely dated and the attribution cannot be substantiated by documentary evidence. However, this fine relief of Handel in contemporary dress appears to be based on the facial features (and hair) of the plaster portrait bust by Roubiliac at Gloucester Cathedral and the attribution to Roubiliac has been upheld in recent scholarship.

It is inscribed with the fully anglicised version of Handel's German forenames rather than the standard George Frideric Handel usually used in England today (as in the Dictionary of National Biography).

Literature

J. M. Coopersmith, 'A List of Portraits, Sculptures, etc., of Georg Friedrich Händel' in Music & Letters Vol. 13, No. 2 (Apr., 1932), pp. 156-167
Sir John Soane's Museum Handbook, 10th edition, 1920, pp.68-69
J.V.G. Mallet, 'Some portrait medallions by Roubiliac', Burlington Magazine, CIV, 1962, p.157, note 19.
National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977 (now out of print but availalble via the NPG website) see entry for Handel


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk