Apsley House
Apsley House, also known as Number One, London, is the former London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 residence of the Dukes of Wellington
Duke of Wellington
The Dukedom of Wellington, derived from Wellington in Somerset, is a hereditary title in the senior rank of the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The first holder of the title was Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington , the noted Irish-born career British Army officer and statesman, and...

. It stands alone at Hyde Park Corner
Hyde Park Corner
Hyde Park Corner is a place in London, at the south-east corner of Hyde Park. It is a major intersection where Park Lane, Knightsbridge, Piccadilly, Grosvenor Place and Constitution Hill converge...

, on the south-east corner of Hyde Park
Hyde Park, London
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London, United Kingdom, and one of the Royal Parks of London, famous for its Speakers' Corner.The park is divided in two by the Serpentine...

, facing south towards the busy traffic interchange and Wellington Arch
Wellington Arch
Wellington Arch, also known as Constitution Arch or the Green Park Arch, is a triumphal arch located to the south of Hyde Park in central London and at the north western corner of Green Park...

. It is a grade I listed building.

The house is now run by English Heritage
English Heritage
English Heritage . is an executive non-departmental public body of the British Government sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport...

 and is open to the public as a museum and art gallery, although the 8th Duke of Wellington still uses part of the building as a part-time residence. It is sometimes referred to as the Wellington Museum. It is perhaps the only preserved example of an English aristocratic town house from its period. The practice has been to maintain the rooms as far as possible in the original style and decor. It contains the 1st Duke's collection of paintings, porcelain, the silver centrepiece made for the Duke in Portugal, c 1815, sculpture and furniture. Antonio Canova
Antonio Canova
Antonio Canova was an Italian sculptor from the Republic of Venice who became famous for his marble sculptures that delicately rendered nude flesh...

's heroic marble nude of Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker
Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker
Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker is a colossal heroic nude statue by the Italian artist Antonio Canova, of Napoleon I of France in the guise of the Roman god Mars. He holds a gilded Nike or Victory standing on an orb in his right hand and a staff in his left. It was produced between 1802 and 1806...

made 1802-10, holding a gilded Nike
Nike (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Nike was a goddess who personified victory, also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The Roman equivalent was Victoria. Depending upon the time of various myths, she was described as the daughter of Pallas and Styx and the sister of Kratos , Bia , and Zelus...

 in the palm of his right hand, and standing 3.45 metres to the raised left hand holding a staff. It was set up for a time in the Louvre
The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

 and was bought by the Government for Wellington in 1816 (Pevsner) and stands in Adam's Stairwell.


The house was originally built in red brick by Robert Adam
Robert Adam
Robert Adam was a Scottish neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer. He was the son of William Adam , Scotland's foremost architect of the time, and trained under him...

 between 1771 and 1778 for Lord Apsley
Henry Bathurst, 2nd Earl Bathurst
Henry Bathurst, 2nd Earl Bathurst PC, KC , known as the Lord Apsley from 1771 to 1775, was a British lawyer and politician. He was Lord Chancellor of Great Britain from 1771 to 1778.-Background and education:...

, the Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

, who gave the house its name. Some Adam interiors survive: the semi-circular Staircase, the Drawing Room with its apsidal
In architecture, the apse is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome...

 end, and the Portico Room, behind the giant Corinthian portico
Corinthian order
The Corinthian order is one of the three principal classical orders of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The other two are the Doric and Ionic. When classical architecture was revived during the Renaissance, two more orders were added to the canon, the Tuscan order and the Composite order...

 added by Wellington.

In 1807 the house was purchased by Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley
Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley
Richard Colley Wesley, later Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, KG, PC, PC , styled Viscount Wellesley from birth until 1781, was an Anglo-Irish politician and colonial administrator....

, the elder brother of Sir Arthur Wellesley
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

, but in 1817 financial difficulties forced him to sell it to his famous brother, by then the Duke of Wellington, who needed a London base from which to pursue his new career in politics.

Wellington employed the architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt
Benjamin Dean Wyatt
Benjamin Dean Wyatt was an English architect. He was the son and pupil of the architect James Wyatt, and the brother of Matthew Cotes Wyatt....

 to carry out renovations between 1818 and 1819. He extended the house by adding two bays westward to the original five; built the Waterloo Gallery for the Duke's paintings, and faced the red brick with the grander golden Bath stone
Bath Stone
Bath Stone is an Oolitic Limestone comprising granular fragments of calcium carbonate. Originally obtained from the Combe Down and Bathampton Down Mines under Combe Down, Somerset, England, its warm, honey colouring gives the World Heritage City of Bath, England its distinctive appearance...

. He also introduced his own version of French style to the interior, notable in the Waterloo Gallery and the florid wrought iron stair-rail, "just turning from Empire to a neo-Rococo" (Pevsner).

The Waterloo Gallery is, of course, named after the Duke's famous victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

. A special banquet is still served annually to celebrate the date — 18 June 1815. The Duke's equestrian statue can be seen across the busy road, cloaked and watchful, the plinth guarded at each corner by an infantryman. This statue was cast from guns captured at the battle.

The house was given the popular nickname of Number One, London, since it was the first house passed by visitors who travelled from the countryside after the toll gates at Knightsbridge
Knightsbridge is a road which gives its name to an exclusive district lying to the west of central London. The road runs along the south side of Hyde Park, west from Hyde Park Corner, spanning the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea...

. It was originally part of a contiguous line of great houses on Piccadilly, demolished to widen Park Lane
Park Lane (road)
Park Lane is a major road in the City of Westminster, in Central London.-History:Originally a country lane running north-south along what is now the eastern boundary of Hyde Park, it became a fashionable residential address from the eighteenth century onwards, offering both views across Hyde Park...

: its official address remains 149 Piccadilly, W1J 7NT.

During the Second World War, it was rumoured that King George VI
George VI of the United Kingdom
George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death...

 and Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon was the queen consort of King George VI from 1936 until her husband's death in 1952, after which she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to avoid confusion with her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II...

 heard that the treasures of the house hadn't been evacuated. The story goes that they both arrived in a van and quickly had the objects moved to Frogmore
The Frogmore Estate or Gardens comprise of private gardens within the grounds of the Home Park, adjoining Windsor Castle, in the English county of Berkshire. The name derives from the preponderance of frogs which have always lived in this low-lying and marshy area.It is the location of Frogmore...

 for safekeeping.

Gerald Wellesley, 7th Duke of Wellington
Gerald Wellesley, 7th Duke of Wellington
Gerald Wellesley, 7th Duke of Wellington, KG , styled Lord Gerald Wellesley between 1900 and 1943, was a British diplomat, soldier, and architect....

, gave the house and its most important contents to the nation in 1947, but by the Wellington Museum Act 1947 the right of the family to occupy just over half the house was preserved "so long as there is a Duke of Wellington". The family apartments are now on the north side of the house, concentrated on the second floor.


1778 - Apsley House was first finished in 1778 for Lord Apsley, a Lord Chancellor, who named the house

1828 - The Waterloo Gallery,made by Wyatt in 1828, is the main piece of Apsley House. A banquet was held in this vast 90-foot corridor every year on the anniversary of the great victory over the French at Waterloo.

1846 - This bronze equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington, by Matthew Cotes Wyatt, is placed over the Triumphal Arch, Hyde Park Corner

Paintings collection

The magnificent collection of 200 paintings includes 83 which were acquired by the first Duke after the Battle of Vitoria
Battle of Vitoria
At the Battle of Vitoria an allied British, Portuguese, and Spanish army under General the Marquess of Wellington broke the French army under Joseph Bonaparte and Marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan near Vitoria in Spain, leading to eventual victory in the Peninsular War.-Background:In July 1812, after...

 in 1813, the paintings were in Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte was the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily , and later King of Spain...

's baggage train, they were from the Spanish royal collection and were presented to Wellington by King Ferdinand VII of Spain. The painting collection includes work by:

American School
  • John Singleton Copley
    John Singleton Copley
    John Singleton Copley was an American painter, born presumably in Boston, Massachusetts, and a son of Richard and Mary Singleton Copley, both Irish. He is famous for his portrait paintings of important figures in colonial New England, depicting in particular middle-class subjects...

British School
  • Sir William Beechey
    William Beechey
    Sir Henry William Beechey , English portrait-painter, was born at Burford, the son of William Beechey and Hannah Read ....

  • John Burnet
    John Burnet (painter)
    John Burnet was a Scottish engraver and painter.-Life:Son of the Surveyor-General of Excise of Scotland, Burnet was born either in Edinburgh in 1781 or in Fisherrow in 1784...

  • George Dawe
    George Dawe
    George Dawe was an English portraitist who painted 329 portraits of Russian generals active during Napoleon's invasion of Russia for the Military Gallery of the Winter Palace...

  • John Hoppner
    John Hoppner
    John Hoppner was an English portrait painter, .-Early life:Hoppner was born in Whitechapel, London, the son of German parents - his mother was one of the German attendants at the royal palace. King George's fatherly interest and patronage of the young boy gave rise to rumours, quite unfounded,...

  • Edwin Landseer
  • Sir Thomas Lawrence
    Thomas Lawrence
    Thomas Lawrence may refer to:*Sir Thomas Lawrence, British artist, President of Royal Academy*Thomas Lawrence , mayor of colonial Philadelphia*T. E. Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia"*Thomas Lawrence , U.S. politician...

  • William Salter
    William Salter (artist)
    William Salter was an English portrait painter of the 19th century. His best known work was a painting of 83 people at a banquet in 1836 organised by the Duke of Wellington to celebrate their victory at the Battle of Waterloo...

  • Sir David Wilkie
    David Wilkie (artist)
    Sir David Wilkie was a Scottish painter.- Early life :Wilkie was the son of the parish minister of Cults in Fife. He developed a love for art at an early age. In 1799, after he had attended school at Pitlessie, Kettle and Cupar, his father reluctantly agreed to his becoming a painter...

Dutch School
  • Pieter de Hooch
    Pieter de Hooch
    Pieter de Hooch was a genre painter during the Dutch Golden Age. He was a contemporary of Dutch Master Jan Vermeer, with whom his work shared themes and style.-Biography:...

  • Jan van Huysum
    Jan van Huysum
    Jan van Huysum, also spelled Huijsum, was a Dutch painter.-Biography:He was the brother of Jacob van Huysum, the son of the flower painter Justus van Huysum, and the grandson of Jan van Huysum I, who is said to have been expeditious in decorating doorways, screens and vases...

  • Nicolaes Maes
    Nicolaes Maes
    Nicolaes Maes, also known as Nicolaes Maas was a Dutch Golden Age painter of genre and portraits.-Biography:...

  • Willem van Mieris
    Willem van Mieris
    Willem van Mieris was a Dutch painter. He was a son of Frans van Mieris sr. and brother of Jan van Mieris....

  • Antonis Mor
  • Aernout van der Neer
    Aernout van der Neer
    Aert van der Neer, or Aernout or Artus , was a landscape painter of the Dutch Golden Age, specializing in small night scenes lit only by moonlight and fires, and snowy winter landscapes, both often looking down a canal or river...

  • Adriaen van Ostade
    Adriaen van Ostade
    Adriaen van Ostade was a Dutch Golden Age painter of genre works.-Life:...

  • Cornelius van Poelenburgh
    Cornelius van Poelenburgh
    Cornelis van Poelenburgh, was a Dutch Golden Age landscape painter.-Biography:Though his birthplace is unknown, a signed document survives in Utrecht where he is listed as six years old and the son of Simon van Poelenburch, a Catholic canon in Utrecht. He initially trained with Abraham Bloemaert,...

  • Jan Steen
    Jan Steen
    Jan Havickszoon Steen was a Dutch genre painter of the 17th century . Psychological insight, sense of humour and abundance of colour are marks of his trade.-Life:...

  • Willem van de Velde the Younger
    Willem van de Velde the Younger
    Willem van de Velde the Younger was a Dutch marine painter.-Biography:Willem van de Velde was baptised on 18 December 1633 in Leiden, Holland, Dutch Republic....

  • Jan Victors
    Jan Victors
    Jan Victors or Fictor was a Dutch Golden Age painter that focused mainly on painting subject from the Bible.-Biography:...

Flemish School
  • Paul Brill
    Paul and Mattheus Brill
    Paul and Matthijs Bril were brothers, both born in Antwerp, who were landscape painters who worked in Rome after earning papal favor.-Biography:...

  • Adriaen Brouwer
    Adriaen Brouwer
    Adriaen Brouwer was a Flemish genre painter active in Flanders and the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century.-Biography:...

  • Jan Brueghel the Elder
    Jan Brueghel the Elder
    Jan Brueghel the Elder was a Flemish painter, son of Pieter Bruegel the Elder and father of Jan Brueghel the Younger. Nicknamed "Velvet" Brueghel, "Flower" Brueghel, and "Paradise" Brueghel, of which the latter two were derived from his floral still lifes which were his favored subjects, while the...

  • Anthony van Dyck
    Anthony van Dyck
    Sir Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next...

  • Antony Francis van der Meulen
    Antony Francis van der Meulen
    Adam Frans van der Meulen was a Flemish Baroque painter specialising in battle scenes. He was active first in Brussels, where he was a pupil of Pieter Snayers, and from the 1660s onwards in Paris.-Biography:...

  • Rubens
  • David Teniers the Younger
    David Teniers the Younger
    David Teniers the Younger was a Flemish artist born in Antwerp, the son of David Teniers the Elder. His son David Teniers III and his grandson David Teniers IV were also painters...

French School
  • Claude Lorrain
    Claude Lorrain
    Claude Lorrain, , traditionally just Claude in English Claude Lorrain, , traditionally just Claude in English (also Claude Gellée, his real name, or in French Claude Gellée, , dit le Lorrain) Claude Lorrain, , traditionally just Claude in English (also Claude Gellée, his real name, or in French...

  • Claude-Joseph Vernet

German School
  • Hans von Aachen
    Hans von Aachen
    Hans von Aachen , was a German mannerist painter.-Biography:He was born in Cologne, but his name is derived from the birthplace of his father, Aachen in Germany...

  • Adam Elsheimer
    Adam Elsheimer
    Adam Elsheimer was a German artist working in Rome who died at only thirty-two, but was very influential in the early 17th century. His relatively few paintings were small scale, nearly all painted on copper plates, of the type often known as cabinet paintings. They include a variety of light...

  • Anton Raphael Mengs
    Anton Raphael Mengs
    Anton Raphael Mengs was a German painter, active in Rome, Madrid and Saxony, who became one of the precursors to Neoclassical painting.- Biography :Mengs was born in 1728 at Ústí nad Labem in Bohemia...

Italian School
  • Leandro Bassano
    Leandro Bassano
    Leandro Bassano , also called Leandro dal Ponte, was an Italian artist from Bassano del Grappa, the younger brother of Francesco Bassano the Younger and third son of Jacopo Bassano, who took their name from their town of Bassano del Grappa...

  • Giuseppe Cesari
    Giuseppe Cesari
    Giuseppe Cesari was an Italian Mannerist painter, also named Il Giuseppino and called Cavaliere d'Arpino, because he was created Cavaliere di Cristo by his patron Pope Clement VIII. He was much patronized in Rome by both Sixtus V.-Biography:Cesari's father had been a native of Arpino, but...

  • Carlo Cignani
    Carlo Cignani
    Carlo Cignani was an Italian painter of the Bolognese and of the Forlivese school, active in the Baroque period....

  • Antonio da Correggio
    Antonio da Correggio
    Antonio Allegri da Correggio , usually known as Correggio, was the foremost painter of the Parma school of the Italian Renaissance, who was responsible for some of the most vigorous and sensuous works of the 16th century...

  • Luca Giordano
    Luca Giordano
    Luca Giordano was an Italian late Baroque painter and printmaker in etching. Fluent and decorative, he worked successfully in Naples and Rome, Florence and Venice, before spending a decade in Spain....

  • Antiveduto Grammatica
    Antiveduto Grammatica
    Antiveduto Grammatica was a proto-Baroque Italian painter, active near Rome.Grammatica was born in either Siena or Rome. According to Giovanni Baglione the artist was given the name Antiveduto because his father had a premonition that he would be soon be born during a journey between his native...

  • Guercino
  • Giovanni Paolo Panini
  • Guido Reni
    Guido Reni
    Guido Reni was an Italian painter of high-Baroque style.-Biography:Born in Bologna into a family of musicians, Guido Reni was the son of Daniele Reni and Ginevra de’ Pozzi. As a child of nine, he was apprenticed under the Bolognese studio of Denis Calvaert. Soon after, he was joined in that...

  • Giulio Romano
    Giulio Romano
    Giulio Romano was an Italian painter and architect. A pupil of Raphael, his stylistic deviations from high Renaissance classicism help define the 16th-century style known as Mannerism...

  • Salvator Rosa
    Salvator Rosa
    Salvator Rosa was an Italian Baroque painter, poet and printmaker, active in Naples, Rome and Florence. As a painter, he is best known as an "unorthodox and extravagant" and a "perpetual rebel" proto-Romantic.-Early life:...

  • Francesco Trevisani
    Francesco Trevisani
    thumb|250px|Portrait of [[Pietro Ottoboni |Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni]] by Francesco Trevisani. The [[Bowes Museum]], [[Barnard Castle]], [[County Durham]], [[England]]....

  • Marcello Venusti
    Marcello Venusti
    Marcello Venusti was an Italian Mannnerist painter active in Rome in mid 16th century.Native to Mazzo di Valtellina near Como, he was reputed to have been a pupil of Perino del Vaga. He is known for a scaled copy of the Michelangelo's Last Judgement, commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese,...

Spanish School
  • Velázquez, Diego
    Diego Velázquez
    Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist...

     (4 paintings, including The Waterseller of Seville
    The Waterseller of Seville (Velázquez)
    The Waterseller of Seville is the title of three paintings by Spanish artist Diego Velázquez, dating from 1618-1622. It is widely said to be the greatest of all his Seville paintings.-History:The painting exists in three versions...

  • Francisco Goya
    Francisco Goya
    Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Goya was a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era...

     (1 painting)
  • Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
    Bartolomé Estéban Murillo
    Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was a Spanish Baroque painter. Although he is best known for his religious works, Murillo also produced a considerable number of paintings of contemporary women and children...

     (3 paintings)
  • Jusepe de Ribera (3 paintings)

The 1st Duke received many gifts from European rulers that are displayed in the House:
  • A pair of large candelabra of Siberian porphyry
    Porphyry (geology)
    Porphyry is a variety of igneous rock consisting of large-grained crystals, such as feldspar or quartz, dispersed in a fine-grained feldspathic matrix or groundmass. The larger crystals are called phenocrysts...

    , ormolu
    Ormolu is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-karat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze. The mercury is driven off in a kiln...

     & Malachite
    Malachite is a copper carbonate mineral, with the formula Cu2CO32. This green-colored mineral crystallizes in the monoclinic crystal system, and most often forms botryoidal, fibrous, or stalagmitic masses. Individual crystals are rare but do occur as slender to acicular prisms...

     centre and two side tables, presented by Nicholas I of Russia
    Nicholas I of Russia
    Nicholas I , was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning over 20 million square kilometers...

  • A pair of Swedish
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

     porphyry urns, from King Charles XIV John of Sweden
    Charles XIV John of Sweden
    Charles XIV & III John, also Carl John, Swedish and Norwegian: Karl Johan was King of Sweden and King of Norway from 1818 until his death...

  • A dinner service of Berlin porcelain, from Frederick William III of Prussia
    Frederick William III of Prussia
    Frederick William III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. He was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel .-Early life:...

  • The Egyptian revival decorative arts
    Egyptian revival decorative arts
    Egyptian revival decorative arts is an early nineteenth century movement in which Egyptian motifs were applied to a wide variety of Decorative arts objects....

     dinner service of Sèvres porcelain
    Manufacture nationale de Sèvres
    The manufacture nationale de Sèvres is a Frit porcelain porcelain tendre factory at Sèvres, France. Formerly a royal, then an imperial factory, the facility is now run by the Ministry of Culture.-Brief history:...

    , from Louis XVIII of France
    Louis XVIII of France
    Louis XVIII , known as "the Unavoidable", was King of France and of Navarre from 1814 to 1824, omitting the Hundred Days in 1815...

  • The silver and silver-gilt Portuguese service of over a thousand pieces, from the Portuguese Council of Regency.
  • The Saxon Service of Meissen porcelain
    Meissen porcelain
    Meissen porcelain or Meissen china is the first European hard-paste porcelain that was developed from 1708 by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. After his death that October, Johann Friedrich Böttger, continued his work and brought porcelain to the market...

    , from Frederick Augustus I of Saxony
    Frederick Augustus I of Saxony
    Frederick Augustus I was King of Saxony from the House of Wettin. He was also Elector Frederick Augustus III of Saxony and Duke Frederick Augustus I of Warsaw...

  • One dozen marshal's batons from various rulers.

The Duke's uniform and other memorabilia may be seen in the basement.

External links

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