The Handel House Collection
The Handel House Collection was started in 1996, and has since then been acquiring, through purchase and gift, important items of fine art, manuscripts and printed material related to the life, work and times of George Frideric Handel.
In 1996 Handel House acquired the portrait of Handel’s Italian opera soprano Faustina Bordoni by Bartolomeo Nazari, now displayed in the Rehearsal and Performance Room, and in 1998 the portrait of Charles Jennens by Thomas Hudson, displayed in the Composition Room. These portraits were acquired with grants from the National Art Collections Fund and private donations. The canvasses were conserved by Nicole Ryder and an English Rococo gilded frame was made by Tim Newbery for the Jennens portrait.
Also in 1998 Handel House acquired the Byrne Collection with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Foundation for Sport and the Arts, The Pilgrim Trust and private donors. This major Handel collection consists of several hundred objects including manuscripts, early editions of operas and oratorios, prints, portraits, medallions and sculpture.
A significant collection of late 18th-century prints from the Lennox-Boyd Collection was acquired in 2005, with assistance from the National Art Collections Fund, the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and an individual donor. Many of these prints are exhibited throughout the museum and depict some of the musical personalities that Handel would have known and worked with.
Most of the books, scores and manuscripts in the collection have been catalogued by our colleagues at the Gerald Coke Handel Collection at the Foundling Museum. Many of these are on loan to the Foundling Museum where they can be consulted for research purposes.