GCCE1854 Posted August 4, 2021 Share #1 Posted August 4, 2021 Sometimes it's easy with the real military "greats" to forget that you're reading about a real, normal person. So, I thought it would be neat to find a few things that survive from the Duke of Wellington that give a picture of his normal life when not fighting at the Battle of Waterloo. His Home To begin with, his renowned home, Apsley House, is now part of the English Heritage association and a full historical sight and museum. This house was built between 1771-1778 for the 1st Baron Apsley (then Lord Chacellor), at the formal entrance to Hyde Park -- originally having an address of "Number 1, London". [Note: The address is now 149 Picadilly.] While this original red brick building was not the grand house surviving, the structure still survives beneath the stones and extensions of the larger, later house. The new Duke of Wellington purchased the house from his older brother, after Parliament voted to gift him £700,000 for the building of his own "Waterloo Palace". Instead, the Duke paid £40,000 for Apsley House (at the same time helping his brother out of financial troubles). His Daguerreotype While everyone tends to show the famous and colorful portraits of the Duke, there is actually an amazing daguerreotype photograph taken in 1844 (I think the date was 01 May 1844). There's nothing like a photo to make someone seem real. It's fascinating to think of that older gent being the same dashing hero always shown in his prime at Waterloo. His Frock Coat and Overalls And if you're interested in the clothing of the day (these were definitely his "civvies"), the National Army Museum in Chelsea actually owns the coat and pants worn by the Duke in the portrait showing Wellington with his secretary, Colonel Gurwood. This was painted in the 1840s by artist Andrew Morton and shows the men (Gurwood standing and Wellington seated) in the library at Apsley House. Here is the portrait (now on display as part of The Wallace Collection in London): And here are some pictures from the museum's collection showing the actual clothing: You have to wonder what the Duke would have thought about his suit being displayed in state-of-the-art conditions . . . moth hole and all! He probably wore this a number of times and never dreamed of it being a permanent display in one of the nation's large museums. If anyone else has more to share about this great British hero, please reply! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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