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George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

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Title/s

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

Maker/s

Roubiliac, Louis François (sculptor) [ULAN info: Lyon bapt. 1702-1762 London]

Category

sculpture

Name

figure

School/Style

Rococo

Description

Terracotta, modelled in the round. The composer is seated on a plinth, plucking the strings of a lyre. He is shown in undress, wearing a night-cap and gown, and slippers, one of which has fallen off and is under his foot. A boy 'recording angel' sits at his feet taking down the notes.

Production Notes

This is the model for the marble statue erected in Vauxhall gardens in 1738.

Production Place

London (sculptor) (place) ()

England (sculptor) (country)

English (sculptor) (nationality)

Technique Description

terracotta hand-modelled, and fired

Dimensions

height: (whole): 47.2 cm
width: (whole): 26.9 cm
diameter: (whole): 36.2 cm

Period

2nd quarter 18th Century
George II

Date

before 1738

Provenance

given: Spencer Churchill, E.G., Captain 1922 (Filtered for: Applied Arts collection)

Thomas Hudson by 1751); sold in his sale, 26th February 1785, lot 37; purchased by Nathaniel Smith and sold by him to his ma;ster, Joseph Nollekens; sold in his sale, 3rd July, 1823, lot 60 (as by Carlini); purchased by 'Hamlet, the silversmith', presumably Thomas Hamlet; probably purchased for Northwick Park at Hamlet's sale held by Robins, 29th July, 1833 (only recorded copy of the sale cat. derives from the Northwick Park Library); Captain E.G. Spencer-Churchill, Northwick, by whom given to the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Given by Captain E.G. Spencer-Churchill

Documentation

  1. Esdaile, Katharine A. (1928) The Life and Works of François Roubiliac, London: Oxford University Press [page: pp. 41-2]
    [comments: Publ. Provenance, pp. 41-2. Thomas Hudson; his sale, c. 26th February 1785, lot 37; purchased by Nathaniel Smith and sold by him to his master, Joseph Nollekens; Nollekens sale, 3rd July, 1823, lot 60 (as Carlini), purchased by 'Hamlet, the silversmith', presumably Thomas Hamlet; probably purchased for Northwick Park at Hamlet's sale held by Robins, 29th July, 1833 (only recorded copy of the sale cat. derives from the Northwick Park Library); Captain E.G. Spencer-Churchill, Northwick, by whom given to the Fitzwilliam Museum.]
  2. Hodgkinson, Terence Handel at Vauxhall, [page: pp. 1-13]
    Source title: Victoria and Albert Museum Bulletin (
    [comments: Publ. Illustrated, pp. 1-13, illustrated p. 10, fig. 11]
  3. (1982) Treasures of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.): Pevensey Press [page: p. 81]
    [comments: Publ. Illustrated in colour, p. 81, no. 82]
  4. (1984) Rococo: Art and Design in Hogarth's England, London [page: p. 89]
    [comments: Publ. p. 89, no. F 9]
  5. Simon, Jacob, ed. (1986) Handel, A Celebration of his Life and Times 1685-1759, London [page: pp. 39-40]
    [comments: Publ. pp. 39-40, no. 6, ill. in colour between pp. 44-5. The provenance is given.]
  6. (2005) Treasures of the Fitzwilliam Museum, London: Scala [page: 153]
    [comments: Publ. Colour illustration with brief text]
  7. Panayotova, Stella (2008) I Turned It Into a Palace, Sydney Cockerell and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.): The Fitzwilliam Museum [page: 185]
    [comments: Publ. p. 185, fig. 2.130]
  8. Esdaile, Katharine A. (1928) The Life and Works of François Roubiliac, London: Oxford University Press [page: pp. 37, 39]
    [comments: Ref. See for the marble and terracotta pp. 37 & 39. Quotes from, A Sketch of the Spring-Gardens, Vaux-Hall in a letter to a Noble Lord, (1750?) 'A beautiful Marble Statue of Mr Handel in the Character of Apollo, playing on the Lyre; with a boy underneath, taking down the notes.'p. 37. Mrs Esdaile's own description: represented in 'night-cap and négligé, leaning on bound volumes of his own scores, and so lost to all except his art that he has kicked off one slipper and rests his stockinged foot upon it, in ignorance that his strains are being recorded by the child angel at his feet in a music book blank in the marble, with a note or two written down in the model.' p. 39 The marble was erected in Vauxhall Gardens in 1738.]
  9. Bindman, David Roubiliac's Statue of Handel and the Keeping of Order in Vauxhall Gardens in the Early Eighteenth Century, [page: pp. 22-31]
    Source title: The Sculpture Journal (1997)
    [comments: Ref. For background information about Vauxhall gardens and the marble, see pp. 22-31]
  10. Baker, Malcolm Tyers, Roubiliac and a sculpture's fame: a poem about the commissioning of the Handel statue at Vauxhall, [page: pp. 41-4]
    Source title: The Sculpture Journal (1998)
    [comments: Ref. pp. 41-4. It was entitled 'To the Master of Vauxhall Gardens, on his employing the ingenious Mr Roubillac to carve the Statue of Mr. Handel' London Magazine, VII (June 1738), p. 302]
  11. Bilbey, Diane (2002) British Sculpture 1470 to 2000, A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: V. & A. Publications [page: 114-15]
    [comments: Cf. p. 114-15, no. 156, the marble in the Victoria and Albert Museum (A.3-1965). The Fitzwilliam's terracotta is mentioned on p. 115. The author's identify Handle as in the guise of Orpheus playing Apollo's lyre.]
  12. Coke, David (2007) Roubiliac's Handel for Vauxhall Gardens; a sculpture in context, London [page: 5-22]
    Source title: Sculpture Journal (2006)
    [comments: Publ. p. 17, illustrated b & w.]

Other Notes

A model for the marble statue of Handel erected in Vauxhall Gardens, near London, in 1738. It later belonged to Messrs Novello and was bought by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1964, where it is now displayed in the English Primary Galleries. The composer is seated in an informal pose holding a lyre, probably a reference to the god, Apollo, who was renowned for his musical expertise, or to Orpheus, who charmed the wild beasts by playing to them. The vivacity of the statue made a great impression on visitors to Vauxhall Gardens, and brought public recognition of Roubiliac's virtuosity.

Accession Number

M.3-1922 (Applied Arts)
(Reference Number: 29736; Input Date: 2001-05-31 / Last Edit: 2011-06-30)

Related Object

M.2-1986 - George Frideric Handel as Apollo

Related Image/s

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