Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

by Thomas Heaphy
watercolour, 1813
7 1/2 in. x 6 3/8 in. (190 mm x 161 mm)
Purchased, 1921
Primary Collection
NPG 1914(18)

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Thomas Heaphy (1775-1835), Painter. Artist or producer associated with 47 portraits, Sitter in 2 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Cox, Paul, Wellington: Triumphs, Politics and Passions, 2015 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 12 March - 7 June 2015), p. 64 Read entry

    Professional artists also travelled to the Peninsula to record people and events and to consolidate on the commercial opportunities the war presented. Although this long predates the concept of the official 'war artist', some were given unofficial military help. The watercolourist Thomas Heaphy, for example, appears to have been encouraged by a staff officer to visit Wellington's military headquarters in Spain in 1813.1 While there, he painted small whole-length watercolour portraits of a number of Wellington's officers, although some demurred at his price of fifty guineas, which included ten guineas danger money after Heaphy had narrowly escaped capture by the French.2 He also brought home sketches from which to paint a large group portrait. When the war was over and artist and potential sitters had returned to England, there was a clamour to be included in the pciture, which Heaphy had announced was to be engraved for publication.

    1 Rory Muir, Wellington: The Path to Victory, 1769-1814 (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2013), p 504.

    2 Sir George Larpent (ed.), The Private Journal of F. S. Larpent, Esq., 3 vols (RIchard Bentley, London, 1853), Vol. 2, p 125.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 650

Events of 1813back to top

Current affairs

Machine breaking Luddite Riots end with seventeen executions in York. Radical John Cartwright's subsequent tour of the manufacturing districts has some success in quelling Luddite discontent with the foundation of the Hampden reform club network across the country.
East India Company is deprived of monopoly over trade with India.

Art and science

Millenarian prophet Joanna Southcott, made famous by her visions of the second coming of Christ, announces herself 'with child' by the Holy Ghost.
Jane Austen publishes Pride and Prejudice.


Victorious Battle of St Pierre near Bayonne led by General Rowland Hill.
Battle of Leipzig ends in defeat for Napoleon.
Wellington's victory at Vittoria leads to British invasion of Southern France.
Americans capture and burn Toronto, defeat British in Battle of Lake Erie and recapture Detroit.

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