Handel Centenary Festival
The medal was struck for the centenary festival in commemoration of the birth of Handel, held in May and June 1784 in Westminster Abbey and at the Pantheon.
It was worn on days of performance by the King and Queen and the Directors of the Festival. Examples are also known engraved on the edge named to performers. The medal figures on the frontispiece of Dr Burney's Account of the Festival, published in 1785.
The catalogue for the 1985 Handel Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery gives the following explanation for these passes, "seventeen of which were made from the original die with the initial G omitted before Handel's name "eight in gold went to the King and Queen, the five directors and the conductor, Joah Bates, while the remainder in silver were given to the eight sub-directors and the architect, James Wyatt. A further five hundred medals, from a new die, were given to the principal performers". Only one of the original seventeen specimens has been traced and is in collection of the British Museum.
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