House, on the south-east corner of Hyde
Park, was once known as No. I London.It was the
first building past the tollgate into capital for travellers
The house was built by Robert
Adam in 1778 for Baron Apsley. Fifty years later the
house was enlarged and altered by the architects Benjamin
and Philip Wyatt to provide an imposing London home for Arthur
Welsley, 1st Duke of Wellington.
The Duke's dual career as soldier
and politician brought him victory against Napoleon Bonaparte
at Waterloo in 1815 and a term as Tory Prime Minister in 1828
- 30. Known as the 'Iron Duke', Wellington earned
the nickname for the iron shutters he had installed at Apsley
House after rioters broke the windows in protest over his
Reform Bill. The house was Wellington's London residence
from 1817 until his death in 1852.
Wellington's descendants still
live at Apsley House, but ten restored rooms are open to the
public as the Wellington Museum.
The Adam interiors contain sculpture,
paintings, silverware, ceramics, trophies and memorabilia.
The paintings are mostly of Wellington's contemporaries and
victories but there is also some old masters, including Rubens,
Bruegel, Caravaggio, Valazquez and Van Dyck.
Dominating the art collection
is the sculpture of Wellington's rival Napoleon wearing only
a fig leaf. This double life-size statue by Canova is
The long Waterloo Gallery, based
on Versailles, was added by Benjamin Wyatt, and here the Duke
hosted lavish banquets for the officers who served him at
The basement has an exhibition
relating to the Duke's death, including his death mask, and
a collection of ceramics. The highlight of this is the
Sèvres Egyptian dinner service, given to Josephine by Napoleon
to mark their divorce.