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This is one of a series of images Burney produced in the 1820s satirising contemporary attitudes towards music. Here his subject is the ‘battle’ between traditional and modern music. Modern music is represented by Beethoven and Mozart, whose names appear on papers in the foreground and in the fire. Traditional music is represented by a bust of George Frederick Handel (1685–1759) in the upper centre. Below a group of musicians is playing (badly) music by Handel’s contemporary, Corelli. They are dressed in the clothing of Handel’s day, including the ‘tye-wigs’ mentioned in the title as symbolising old-fashioned music.

October 2013