Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) Field-Marshal & Prime Minister

  • Image of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) Field-Marshal & Prime Minister
  • About the work

    Made in 1852, the year of the death of former Prime Minister Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington’s this marble bust is based on his death mask. The sculptor, George Gammon Adams, exhibited six works relating to the Duke of Wellington at the Royal Academy from 1853 to 1859. These were a funeral medal in 1853, a version of this bust and a memorial to the Duke in the following year, a statue of the Duke in 1855, another bronze statue (made for the city of Norwich) in 1856 and a further bust in 1859.

    The Duke of Wellington held the offices of Field Marshal, British Ambassador to France and Prime Minister of Great Britain. He achieved international fame through his victories against Napoleon’s troops in the Peninsular War (1808–14) and, together with Prussian General Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher (1742–1819), finally defeated Napoleon at Waterloo on 18 June 1815. This victory came to be viewed as a defining moment in British history and was celebrated throughout the 19th century, when depictions of the battle and images of Wellington were popular. In recognition of his military achievements, Wellington received numerous honours. In 1809, he was raised to the peerage and on 19 June 1812 he was made an earl. 

  • About the artist
    George Gammon Adams attended the Royal Academy Schools from 1840. He later spent a year in Rome, studying under John Gibson. Adams gained recognition after exhibiting work at the Great Exhibition and also designing prize medals for the exhibition. In 1852 he was selected to model the death mask of Wellington. Following this Gammon exhibited six works depicting the Duke and gained commissions for several public monuments. He made a series of busts of notable public figures during the 1850s and ‘60s. Adams exhibited at the Royal Academy and the British Institution. His public sculptures include ‘General Sir Charles James Napier’ (1855) on the South-western plinth in Trafalgar Square and the ‘Dean of Ripon’ at St. George’s Hall, Liverpool.
  • Explore
    Wellesley, Arthur, 1st Duke of Wellington
    Materials & Techniques
    marble, bust (as object name), marble bust
  • Details
    Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) Field-Marshal & Prime Minister
    Marble bust
    height: 75.00 cm, width: 50.00 cm
    Purchased from T Crowther & Son, December 1950
    Inscribed on verso: GG ADAMS SC / LONDON 1852
    Collection of Philip Guedalla; with T. Crowther & Son; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in December 1950
    GAC number