George Frideric Handel
12 of 181 portraits by Thomas Hudson
George Frideric Handel
by Thomas Hudson
oil on canvas, 1756
94 in. x 57 1/2 in. (2388 mm x 1461 mm)
Purchased with help from the Handel Appeal Fund and H.M. Government, 1968
Click on the links below to find out more:
Artistback to top
- Thomas Hudson (1701-1779), Portrait painter and art collector. Artist associated with 181 portraits.
This portraitback to top
The great composer is seen here in old age and by now blind, with the score of Messiah. Painted for Handel's friend, Charles Jennens, who selected the words for Messiah. The magnificent rococo frame with trophies of musical instruments and scores at top and bottom is original and may have been the work of Joseph Duffour, a leading carver and gilder of French origin. More detailed information on this portrait is available in a National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, John Kerslake's Early Georgian Portraits (1977, out of print).
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- National Portrait Gallery: 100 Portraits, p. 47
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 56
- Cooper, John, A Guide to the National Portrait Gallery, 2009, p. 30
- Kerslake, John, Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, p. 123
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 277
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 105
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1756back to top
Current affairsGovernment falls after criticism of its handling of the Seven Years War. Prime Minister Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle is succeeded by William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, who forms a ministry effectively run by William Pitt the Elder.
Art and scienceSatiristist Thomas Rowlandson is born in Old Jewry in the City of London. His main rival James Gillray is born exactly a month later in Chelsea. Completion of William Edwards' Old Bridge, Pontypridd; the longest single span bridge in Britain for the next forty years..
International'Black Hole of Calcutta': a group of British prisoners, including East India Company servant John Zephaniah Holwell, are locked in a small, overcrowded dungeon overnight when Fort William in Calcutta is captured by troops of the Nawab of Bengal. Holwell claims 123 of the 146 prisoners died. Outbreak of the Seven Years War in which Britain, Hanover, Prussia and Denmark are pitted against France, Austria, Russia and Sweden.
See this portrait
On display in Room 12 at the National Portrait Gallery