Wellesley, shown during his campaign in India, wears the uniform of a Major-General, the position he was promoted to in 1802. His right hand is placed on his chest through the opening of his jacket and his left hand rests on his curved sword. In the background, a group of soldiers heave a canon up a slope, while others have just raised the Union Jack.
One of several depictions of Wellesley by Home, this portrait presented to Admiral Page, captain of the boat that returned Wellesley from India to English shores, by the sitter himself. Page later gave the work to his close friend Walter Halliday. According to W. Foster’s ‘British Artists in India’ (1930):
‘The [original] painting is now in the possession of the Government of India at Delhi, having been purchased from the artist in 1805 for 2,000 rupees; another hangs in Buckingham Palace; while a third, said to have been painted for Wellesley himself, belongs to the present Duke of Wellington.’
Robert Home, painter of history, portraits and landscapes, was born in Hull. In 1790, he sailed for Madras, arriving by January 1791. There he painted views of India and portraits of British residents. He accompanied British troops during the 1792 campaign against Tipu Sultan and made coloured aquatints for ‘Select Views in Mysore’ in 1794 and a ‘Description of Seringapatam’ in 1796. In 1795, he moved to Calcutta, where he painted portraits and decorated the new Government House. In 1814, he went to Lucknow, becoming official Historical and Portrait Painter to the Nawabs of Oudh. In addition to painting he supervised the making and decorating of furniture, carriages, boats and howdahs. Home retired to Cawnpore in 1828, where he later died.
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) Field-Marshal & Prime Minister
Oil on canvas
height: 120.50 cm, width: 72.50 cm
Purchased from Sotheby's, 9 July 1980
Collection of the sitter; by whom presented to Admiral Page; by whom presented to the Reverend Walter Stephenson Halliday; by descent to Sir William Halliday; by whose executors sold through Sotheby's, London, 'Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century British Paintings' sale, on 9 July 1980 (Lot 121); from which sale purchased by the Government Picture Collection
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