The Duke of Wellington ( Field Marshal KG, GCB, PC )
The Duke of Wellington ( Field Marshal KG, GCB, PC )
The Duke of Wellington ( Field Marshal KG, GCB, PC )
The Duke of Wellington ( Field Marshal KG, GCB, PC )
The Duke of Wellington ( Field Marshal KG, GCB, PC )
The Duke of Wellington ( Field Marshal KG, GCB, PC )
The Duke of Wellington ( Field Marshal KG, GCB, PC )
The Duke of Wellington ( Field Marshal KG, GCB, PC )

Circle of THOMAS LAWRENCE (1769-1830)

The Duke of Wellington ( Field Marshal KG, GCB, PC )

19th century British Regency Era

Offered by Mansion House Antiques & Fine Art


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This is a sought after Regency Era (1811-1837) oil portrait on canvas of Arthur Wellesley, Field Marshall His Grace The Duke of Wellington KG, GCB, PC,FRS 1769-1852, bust length in civilian clothes with a military cloak and wearing the insignia of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

The portrait is after the original by Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA.It was commissioned in 1820 by Wellington's friends Charles and Harriet Arbuthnot. Harriet was so close to the duke that many contemporaries assumed they were lovers.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS (1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852) was an Anglo-Irish soldier and statesman who was one of the leading military and political figures of 19th-century Britain. His defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 puts him in the first rank of Britain's military heroes.

Wellesley was born in Dublin, into the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland. He was commissioned as an ensign in the British Army in 1787, serving in Ireland as aide-de-camp to two successive Lords Lieutenant of Ireland. He was also elected as a Member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons. He was a colonel by 1796, and saw action in the Netherlands and in India, where he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at the Battle of Seringapatam. He was appointed governor of Seringapatam and Mysore in 1799 and, as a newly appointed major-general (since 1802), won a decisive victory over the Maratha Confederacy at the Battle of Assaye in 1803.

Wellesley rose to prominence as a general during the Peninsular campaign of the Napoleonic Wars, and was promoted to the rank of field marshal after leading the allied forces to victory against the French Empire at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813. Following Napoleon's exile in 1814, he served as the ambassador to France and was granted a dukedom. During the Hundred Days in 1815, he commanded the allied army which, together with a Prussian army under Blücher, defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Wellington's battle record is exemplary he ultimately participated in some 60 battles during the course of his military career.

Wellington is famous for his adaptive defensive style of warfare, resulting in several victories against numerically superior forces while minimising his own losses. He is regarded as one of the greatest defensive commanders of all time, and many of his tactics and battle plans are still studied in military academies around the world.

After the end of his active military career, Wellington returned to politics. He was twice British prime minister as part of the Tory party: from 1828 to 1830, and for a little less than a month in 1834. He oversaw the passage of the Catholic Relief Act 1829, but opposed the Reform Act 1832. He continued as one of the leading figures in the House of Lords until his retirement and remained Commander-in-Chief of the British Army until his death at Walmer Castle near Dover on 14th September 1852.

Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA FRS (13 April 1769 – 7 January 1830) was a leading English portrait painter and the fourth president of the Royal Academy.

Lawrence was a child prodigy. He was born in Bristol and began drawing in Devizes, where his father was an innkeeper. At the age of ten, having moved to Bath, he was supporting his family with his pastel portraits. At eighteen he went to London and soon established his reputation as a portrait painter in oils, receiving his first royal commission, a portrait of Queen Charlotte, in 1790. He stayed at the top of his profession until his death, aged 60, in 1830.

Self-taught, he was a brilliant draughtsman and known for his gift of capturing a likeness, as well as his virtuoso handling of paint. He became an associate of the Royal Academy in 1791, a full member in 1794, and president in 1820. In 1810 he acquired the generous patronage of the Prince Regent, was sent abroad to paint portraits of allied leaders for the Waterloo chamber at Windsor Castle, and is particularly remembered as the Romantic portraitist of the Regency. Lawrence's love affairs were not happy (his tortuous relationships with Sally and Maria Siddons became the subject of several books) and, in spite of his success, he spent most of life deep in debt. He never married. At his death, Lawrence was the most fashionable portrait painter in Europe. His reputation waned during Victorian times, but has since been partially restored.

The painting is framed in what is probably its original bird's eye maple frame and gilt slip and will be supplied wired and ready to hang.

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Very good and respectable order.The canvas is clean and taut and there is minimal craquelure and no stretcher marks or paint loss.
The painting has had an historical reline with slight evidence of minor repair in the background to the far right of the head and faint retouching to the upper right cheek. The frame is in good condition for its age.

The original fine portrait by Lawrence has not been seen in public for sixty years due to it being in a private collection (it last appeared at an exhibition of Lawrence works at Bristol City art gallery in 1951), it’s known for showing a ‘truer’ image of the Duke as Harriet Arbuthnot writes in her diary regarding the portrait: “All other pictures of him depict him as a hero” while this one“has all the softness and sweetness of countenance which characterises him when he is in the private society of his friends”. The painting was recently displayed at the National Portrait Gallery in London as part of the exhibition, 'Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance’.
Wellington despised sitting for portraits but, as the Iron Duke, the victor at Waterloo and the most feted military hero of his generation, it clearly came with the job, and the eight portraits executed by Lawrence over 15 years are among the most celebrated of all.

The Lawrence portrait to be shown at the NPG has not been seen in public for nearly 60 years, and is particularly interesting because it is so much less a depiction of a military hardman than others.
External Height 91.40 cm (35.98 inches)
External Width 79.00 cm (31.10 inches)
External Depth 4.00 cm (1.57 inches)
Stock Code
Oil on Canvas
Regency Era (1811-1837) Unsigned
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