Handel Exhibition 2016

In August 2016 we celebrated the composer George Frideric Handel’s extraordinary legacy with items from the Buccleuch musical archives.

The exhibition looks at key moments in Handel’s life, from his formative years in the palaces of cardinals and princes in Rome, to his rise as England musical genius presiding over London, the European capital of music theatre in the eighteenth century.

The exhibition launched with an event hosted by the Duke of Buccleuch on Sunday, 17th July. The Paris dance company, Les Corps Eloquents, gave a unique Handel performance in Boughton’s Great Hall, including re-created scenes from some of Handel’s most spectacular operas. London theatre-goers expected ballet in their opera and Handel did not disappoint. He created over 70 works for the French dancers he had at his disposal, thanks to patrons like the Duke of Montagu.

The exhibition showed:

  • Glimpses of Handel’s early life in the palaces of cardinals in Rome
  • Rare images of Handel and his colleagues, including a life size bust after Louis François Roubiliac
  • Roubiliac’s terracotta model for the Handel Westminster Abbey memorial
  • A 1720 harpsichord thought to have belonged to Handel
  • Original choreographies as used by Handel’s dancers at The Kings Theatre, Haymarket
  • A small orchestra of Chelsea Porcelain musicians
  • Rare scores and manuscripts including the first edition of The Messiah
  • When Handel came to lunch: the menu and guest list from Montagu House April 1747
  • Musical instruments as used in the music for the Royal Fireworks

You can download the Handel Exhibition Boards here for further information.