Wellington: A Personal History

By Christopher Hibbert | Go to book overview

28 Stratfield Saye 1818-20

'A miserable imitation of a French château.'

FROM PARIS the Duke paid visits to London. On one of these, on the second anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, he was present at the opening by the Prince Regent of John Rennie's Waterloo Bridge, originally known as Strand Bridge, which, almost six years in the building, was described by Canova as 'the noblest bridge in the world, worth a visit from the remotest comer of the earth'. 1 On this occasion it was draped in the flags of the allied nations; and, as the sun shone down in a cloudless sky, there was a salute of 202 guns, the number of French cannon captured in the battle.

As a further celebration of his victory at Waterloo, the Duke was asked to sit for a portrait by James Ward who, although far better known as a painter of animals than of historical scenes, had been awarded a prize by the British Institution for a sketch of an Allegory of Waterloo and had been commissioned to paint a picture from it four times the size of the sketch. Wellington -- evidently wary of being portrayed by a man whose Alderny Bull and Cow was considered the best of the four hundred works he exhibited at the Royal Academy, and many of whose later commissions came from the Royal Agricultural Society -- made the excuse that he was on the point of returning to France. Ward said he would follow him there; but the Duke was adamant: he had so many troops under his command that he did not know where he would be 'one day after another'. He would, however, sit for Mr Ward on his return, as he had already sat for Hoppner, Beechey and Sir Thomas Lawrence.*

Despite all his other commitments, the Duke found time to study Benjamin Dean Wyatt's proposals in their continuing search for a country estate; and, having considered the Jacobean Bramshill House near Hartley Wintney and Misserden Park in Gloucestershire as well

____________________
*
The Duke did eventually sit for James Ward whose portrait, painted in 1829, is now at 10 Downing Street ( Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, i, 537).

-213-

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Wellington: A Personal History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Author's Note and Acknowledgements xi
  • I - 1769-1815 1
  • 1 - Eton, Dublin and Angers 1769-87 3
  • 2 - An Officer in the 33rd 1787-93 9
  • 3 - The First Campaign 1794-5 13
  • 4 - A Voyage to India 1796-8 17
  • 5 - The Tiger of Mysore 1799 23
  • 6 - The Governor of Mysore 1799 30
  • 7 - The Sultan's Palace 1800-1 36
  • 8 - Assaye 1802-5 41
  • 9 - Return to London 1805-6 47
  • 10 - Kitty Pakenham 1790-1806 54
  • 11 - Ireland and Denmark 1806-7 58
  • 12 - Portugal 1808 66
  • 13 - Board of Enquiry 1808 77
  • 14 - Across the Douro 1809 82
  • 15 - 'A Whole Host of Marshals' 1809 - 10 92
  • 16 - From Bussaco to El Bodon 1810-11 101
  • 17 - Life at Headquarters 1810-12 108
  • 18 - Badajoz, Salamanca and Madrid 1812 117
  • 19 - Retreat to Portugal 1812 126
  • 20 - From Vitoria to the Frontier 1812-13 133
  • 21 - St Jean De Luz 1813 144
  • 22 - In London Again 1814 151
  • 23 - Paris and Vienna 1814-15 160
  • 24 - Brussels 1815 167
  • 25 - Waterloo 1815 174
  • II - 1815-52 187
  • 26 - The Ambassador 1815 189
  • 27 - Cambrai and Vitry 1815-18 202
  • 28 - Stratfield Saye 1818-20 213
  • 29 - King George IV and Queen Caroline 1820-1 220
  • 30 - Husband and Wife 1821 226
  • 31 - Vienna and Verona 1822-4 241
  • 32 - St Petersburg and the Northern Counties 1825 - 7 251
  • 33 - The Prime Minister 1828-9 264
  • 34 - Battersea Fields and Scotland Yard 273
  • 35 - The Death of the King 1829-30 278
  • 36 - Riots and Repression 1830-2 287
  • 37 - A Bogy to the Mob 1832 296
  • 38 - Oxford University and Apsley House 1832-4 306
  • 39 - Lady Friends 1834 313
  • 40 - The Foreign Secretary 1834-6 319
  • 41 - Portraits and Painters 1830-50 326
  • 42 - Life at Walmer Castle 1830-50 338
  • 43 - The Young Queen 1837-9 348
  • 44 - Grand Old Man 1839-50 357
  • 45 - The Horse Guards and the House of Lords 1842-50 367
  • 46 - Hyde Park Corner 1845-6 373
  • 47 - Disturbers of the Peace 1846-51 378
  • 48 - Growing Old 1850-1 385
  • 49 - Last Days 1851-2 394
  • 50 - The Way to St Paul's 1852 399
  • References 405
  • Sources 426
  • Index 439
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