Last week I paid a visit to Apsley House, once the home to Arthur Wellesley,
the First Duke of Wellington. And this neo classical Grade 1 listed building
which was first built between 1771 and 1778 didn't come into the ownership
of the Duke and his family until 1817, two years after his famous final victory
at The Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
The House is now a museum open to the public. And if anyone might be planning
on a cultural visit to our capital, I can only say that the art collection in this
London landmark at Hyde Park Corner, is simply staggering.
My only disappointment was that after snapping away half a dozen
pictures, I was reminded that photography was not allowed. Perhaps the
warning was in the small print on the website, which I must have missed.
But I was pleased to see a painting that has recently been in the news.
A Titian work titled 'Orpheus Enchanting the Animals' was recently restored
and cleaned up and is back on show at Apsley House. It was thought at one
time that it might not be the work of Titian. But they now believe that it is,
but that the work may have been completed by Titian's studio assistants.
Below is a youtube video courtesy of English Heritage showing just how the
painting was cared for and lovingly restored by Alice Tate-Harte, a fine arts
These days I often look back at my History lessons at School with a sense of
anger and criticism because we were taught very little about internal British
history. The subjects we mostly covered were all about The Commonwealth
and the political history of far flung places that had nothing to do with internal
And this is why I never knew until after my visit to Apsley House, that the
1st Duke of Wellington served twice as the British Prime Minister. So much
for my School history classes that basically taught us nothing about internal
British history or culture. And I also remember that anything about Winston
Churchill and the Second World War simply was not part of our history
But one thing you have to admit is that these men from the past were certainly
more windswept and interesting, to use a phrase often quoted by Billy Connolly.
Imagine that you have someone like The Duke of Wellington who not only served
in our Parliament, but also took part in British military action.
Apparently The Duke had a cantankerous and difficult time with another
politician called Lord Winchilsea. So they settled their political argument
with a pistols at dawn scenario in Battersea Park. But they deliberately
missed each other in firing, and honour was satisfied.
Today the current 9th Duke of Wellington, Arthur Charles Wellesley, resides
in apartments in Apsley House.
THE WELLINGTON COLLECTIONAT APSLEY HOUSE
APSLEY HOUSE - ENGLISH HERITAGE
Above: Apsley House - image via English Heritage
Above: Titian's 'Orpheus Enchanting the Animals'
Image via Art-UK-org
|In the video below we see Conservator Alice Tate-Harte working|
on the restoration of Titian's great work.
|Apsley House from the Green opposite.|
Above: Apsley House in 1829 by T.H. Shepherd
|Facing Apsley House on the Green opposite is a statue of The Duke|
of Wellington alongside Wellington Arch.
Below: The very impressive statue of David situated by
Wellington Arch on the Green. The statue by Francis Derwent
Wood is to commemorate the casualties of the Machine Gun Corps
during World War I.
A side view of Apsley House from the road and entering
|Above and below: The monolithic statue of Achilles situated at|
Hyde Park Corner was erected as a memorial to The Duke of Wellington
in praise of his military victories.
Created by Richard Westmaccot it was inaugurated in June 1822.
|Above and below: Marble Arch.|
|And so off for a walk in London's Hyde Park.|
|Above and below: The Serpentine Cafe and Lake.|
|THE PETER PAN STATUE - KENSINGTON GARDENS.|