1st Duke of Wellington

Benedetto Pistrucci (1783-1855)

Wellington sat for this colossal bust on Waterloo Day in 1832 at the Royal Mint, the bust is signed and dated ‘B. Pisctrucci, Royal Mint, 1832. Wellington bought the bust from the sculptor for 100 guineas.

Another version is in the Institute for Directors (formerly United Services Club) and a bust which was given by Wellington to his daughter-in-law, Lady Douro, is still in the family collection.

Sculptor and medallist, Pistrucci had worked in Rome until 1814 when he moved to Paris and then London. In 1816 he started working for the Royal Mint, of which Wellington’s brother, William Wellesley Pole was Master.

In 1817 he produced the design for the new gold sovereign with St George and the dragon, which was so popular that it was also used for the gold five-pound piece and silver crowns during George IV’s reign.

By 1828 he was Chief Medallist and working on the design for the Waterloo Medal, which was never cast in his lifetime due to its size and complexity.

However in 2015 the Royal Mint issued a limited edition of the medal and 200 years after Waterloo representatives of the victorious allied nations received their medals in a ceremony at Apsley House.