Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830)
This portrait was commissioned in 1817 but not finished until 1818.
Wellington is shown in his Field Marshal’s uniform wearing his Spanish honour, the Golden Fleece. His arms folded and gazing directly at the viewer, the embodiment of the military commander.
Wellington famously disliked sitting for his portrait but appeared to favour Lawrence who painted seven portraits of the 1st Duke before his untimely death in 1830.
Wellington commissioned this painting for Marianne Patterson (later Marchioness Wellesley) a beautiful American whom he greatly admired. At the same time, he commissioned Lawrence to paint Mrs Patterson, and hung this portrait in his library at Stratfield Saye.