This engraving is taken after an original portrait of the Duke of Wellington, painted in 1836 by the artist John Lilley. In 1837 and 1838 the engraver, John Scott, subsequently produced mezzotints after Lilley’s portrait. The portrait depicted Wellington as the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and was painted for the Corporation of Dover, where it was displayed in the Town Hall. James Scott’s engraving depicts Wellington at the age of sixty-seven, following his illustrious career as Britain’s victorious army commander during the Napoleonic Wars, and as Prime Minister from 1828-1830. Despite his well-documented dislike of sitting for portraits, his distinguished position and confident manner are captured eloquently in this image of him. In 1812 during Wellington’s famous military campaign on the Iberian Peninsula, Lieutenant Moyle Sherer recorded the commander’s ‘…quick glancing eye, prominent nose and pressed lip, and… the steady presence of mind and imperturbable decision of character, so essential in a leader’.
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