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Wellington is wearing civilian dress, which was his customary battle dress although the sabre and sash are of a Spanish type and are probably fanciful additions by the artist. The baton may have been omitted for diplomatic reasons. The execution is very sketchy; considerable areas have been laid on with a palette knife and numerous alterations are visible. It is now generally acepted that this portrait was painted in the three weeks between 12 August 1812, when Wellington entered Madrid, and 2 September, when it was exhibited at the Real Academia de San Fernando. Clearly the speed with which the picture was produced would account for its sketchiness, while an X-ray published by Allan Braham shows conclusively that Goya painted the Duke’s head over that of an earlier sitter.

English Heritage, The Wellington Collection, Apsley House



Equestrian Portrait of the 1st Duke of Wellington (1769–1852)




oil on canvas


H 294 x W 241 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

management transferred from the Victoria and Albert Museum to English Heritage, 2004

Work type



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Normally on display at

English Heritage, The Wellington Collection, Apsley House

149 Piccadilly, Hyde Park Corner, London, Greater London W1J 7NT England

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