Journal of the American Musicological Society
““Fam'd Handel Breathing, tho' Transformed to Stone””: The Composer as Monument
Suzanne Aspden

Abstract

L. F. Roubiliac carved two full-length statues of Handel, in 1738 and 1762. Although designed for quite different settings——a public pleasure garden and Westminster Abbey——the two sculptures have notable congruencies: both were sited in spaces critical for national self-definition, and both reflected aspects of the composer's public persona. This article explores the delineation of Handel's image in these statues and reproductions of them, and explicates their role in a broader attempt to define the nation through its heroes. Handel's possible involvement in fostering his status as a ““British worthy”” is suggested both through circumstances of the effigies' production and through his onstage performance, particularly in Alexander's Feast.

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