Marcellus Coffermans (active 1549-1578)
Details about Coffermans’ life are not known but he was a master in the Antwerp painter’s guild in 1549, and in age of Brueghel he continued to paint in the style of the previous generation of Flemish artists.
The influence of Rogier Van der Weyden is notable in his works. He painted small works on panels, many of which were exported to Spain.
This work is two wings of a triptych (a three panelled painting) and shows the Angel Gabriel appearing before the Virgin Mary.
The vase pictured in the foreground contains lilies and roses, both symbols of the Virgin Mary and pansies the symbol of the Trinity.
Robert Lefèvre (1755-1830)
Napoleon is about forty-four in this portrait and is shown in the uniform of a French general worn with the sash and star of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.
This type of full-length portrait, with all the neo-classical trappings one would expect of a royal portrait, was typical of the artists that Napoleon favoured, like Ingres and Lefèvre.
The book on the table beside Napoleon is the Code Napoléon, a civil code enacted on 21st March 1804, which had a lasting effect on civil law across continental Europe.
Jan Brueghel I (1568-1625)
Born in Brussels, the son of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, he was a versatile painter of landscapes, flower pieces and allegorical subjects. There are six works by Brueghel in the Wellington Collection, five on display to the public.
His paintings are jewel-like and meticulous. This work is only 26cm by 37cm and painted on copper. It is a testament to Brueghel’s skill in depicting animals – note the array of birds and small animals in the foreground.
Several of the animals were inspired by Rubens, with whom Bruegel was a close friend and collaborator. The horse is derived from Rubens’ painting ‘Riding School’.
The silver-gilt shield was commissioned by the merchants and bankers of the City of London in 1814 to a design by Thomas Stothard. It was based on Joseph Flaxman’s Achilles Shield and followed the same format with a series of narrative subjects surrounding a strong central composition.
The Achilles Shield was made for George IV and is now part of the Royal Collection. Even before the Battle of Waterloo the Duke of Wellington aroused enormous public interest, his victories in the Peninsular Wars, and in particular the decisive defeat of the French at the Battle of Vitoria in June 1813, had led to an outpouring of patriotic celebrations and vast illuminations in London.
The shield was finally cast in 1822 by Benjamin Smith for the firm of Green, Ward and Green.
The shield measures 103cm in diameter and is silver gilt. Stothard designed each surrounding panel with a scene from Wellington’s life, starting with his victory at the Battle of Assaye in India (1803) and concluding with the receipt of the Ducal Coronet from the Prince Regent (later George IV).
The central panel shows Wellington surrounded by his generals crushing Tyranny underfoot while being crowned by the winged figure of Victory. Thomas Stothard’s painted plaster model for the shield is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Sir David Wilkie (1785-1841)
In 1817 Wellington commissioned Wilkie to paint ‘a parcel of old soldiers assembled together’. This idea evolved into something more interesting and over a period of five years Wilkie produced his most famous picture.
The evolution from Wellington’s first request to this densely populated history painting was certainly driven by Wilkie. The addition of the central Chelsea Pensioner reading the Waterloo Despatch was his idea and assured its fame.
When the painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1822 a special barrier had to be erected to keep the crowds back.
Giulio Romano (?1492-1546)
Romano’s ‘Virgin and Child’ is based on Raphael’s ‘Madonna della Sedia’ (Palazzo Pitti, Florence) and was thought to be by Raphael until the end of the 18th century.
The picture was part of the Spanish Royal Collection captured at the Battle of Vitoria, and by the time it came to England it had been reattributed to Giulio Romano.
In a letter dated February 1814 to the 1st Duke of Wellington his brother, Lord Maryborough, wrote ‘West (Benjamin West, President of the Royal Academy) said the Correggio and Giulio Romano ought to be framed in diamonds, and that it was worth fighting a battle for’.
Romano was a pupil of Raphael and assisted with the decoration of the papal apartments in the Vatican. He moved to Mantua in 1524 becoming court artist to the 1st Duke of Mantua.
Benedetto Pistrucci (1783-1855)
Wellington sat for this colossal bust at the Royal Mint on Waterloo Day in 1832. 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, where 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.
The Deccan silver-gilt service was a gift to Wellington (then General Wellesley) from the Regiments who served under him in 1803 during the Second Anglo-Maratha War, in the Deccan region of India.
The idea of a gift was proposed as early as February 1804. At first it was intended to take the form of a gold vase. By late 1805, the decision had been made to substitute this for a service of silver plate.
Four different London makers were chosen because of their individual areas of specialisation: William Fountain and John Moore for the plates and dishes; John Edwards for the tureens (pictured) and decorative bowls, and, Joseph Preedy for the centrepiece.
Sir Frances Chantrey (1781-1841)
Lord Castlereagh was Foreign Secretary from 1812 to 1822 in Lord Liverpool’s government. He was one of the chief architects of the Treaty of Vienna which brought Europe together after the fall of Napoleon.
He had made his mark in Pitt’s government, overseeing the Act of Union which dismantled the Irish Parliament in 1801. He became increasingly unpopular, especially after the Peterloo Massacre and he took his own life in 1822.
This sculpture is a copy of the one now in the collections of the National Trust for Northern Ireland and on display at Mount Stewart. The Apsley House variant is dated 1822.
Sir Frances Chantrey came from a village near Sheffield in the north of England and was apprenticed to a wood carver and gilder called Ramsay. Through Ramsay he met John Raphael Smith, an artist, who recognised his skill and artistic potential. Chantrey eventually studied stone carving and oil painting at the Royal Academy.
He was recognised as one of the greatest sculptors of his day and was knighted by William IV in 1835. He died suddenly in 1842, leaving a fortune, most of which went to the Royal Academy.