Equestrian Portrait of the 1st Duke of Wellington

Francisco de Goya (1746-1828)

This portrait was painted in the three weeks from 12th August 1812, when Wellington entered Madrid, to 2nd September, when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in Madrid.

The painting is sketchy in parts. Clearly Goya had to work at speed to capture Wellington’s likeness before he returned to campaigning in the Peninsular Wars.

In the 1960s when the painting was X-rayed, it was revealed that an early sitter has been painted over and Goya had merely added Wellington’s face to the composition. This can also be seen in the shape of the body which certainly did not reflect Wellington’s slim frame.