Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1829 - NPG 7032 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

  • Larger Image
  • Image zoom
  • Buy a print
  • Use this image
  • Recent Acquisition
  • ShareShare this

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

by Sir Thomas Lawrence
oil on canvas, 1829
38 in. x 30 in. (965 mm x 762 mm)
Purchased with support from the Art Fund (with a contribution from The Wolfson Foundation), the G and K Boyes Charitable Trust, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Deborah Loeb Brice Foundation, the Portrait Fund, and many contributions from the public following an appeal by the National Portrait Gallery, 2017
Primary Collection
NPG 7032

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), Portrait painter, collector and President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 686 portraits, Sitter in 25 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This portrait depicts Wellington as statesman rather than soldier. It was painted a year after he took office as Prime Minister. This was a troubled time for the Tories who were facing agitation over Catholic emancipation – which Wellington grudgingly supported -- and increasing demands for electoral reform — which he opposed firmly. Wellington’s imperious gaze and commanding presence in Lawrence’s portrait evokes the sitter’s firm resolve in facing down his critics and consolidating his party. The painting was commissioned by Sarah Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey who, as the hostess of a political salon, was a key figure in Regency politics and one of Wellington’s strongest and most influential supporters. After Lawrence’s death, she refused the executor’s offer to have the portrait finished by a studio assistant. This unfinished state increases the emphasis on the sitter’s features while giving insight into Lawrence’s working practices at the end of his life.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG x197883: 'King Edward & His Empire Builders' (includes the portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

Events of 1829back to top

Current affairs

Metropolitan police force of over three thousand paid, uniformed, professional policemen founded by Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel.
Roman Catholic Relief Act grants emancipation; Catholics admitted to vote, sit in parliament and hold almost all public offices.

Art and science

Success of George Stephenson's Rocket steam engine at Rainhill Trials.
First London bus service licensed; the new 'box-on-wheels' contributes greatly to the expansion of the suburbs.
Apsley House completed for the Duke of Wellington by Benjamin Wyatt.
First Oxford and Cambridge boat race.

International

Andrew Jackson is elected President of the United States.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.