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Wellington Museum (Apsley House)|
149 Piccadilly, W1
Nearest Tube: Hyde Park Corner
Apsley House, on Hyde Park Corner, was the home of the Duke of Wellington from the 1817 until his death in 1852. (Wellington was the British naval hero who defeated Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo.) At the time that the Duke lived here, this house was regarded as the most desirable home in the capital and so was known simply as Number One, London.
It is still a private house (some of Wellington's descendants still live here), but since 1952 has also been home to the Wellington Museum. The museum is essentially an exhibition of furniture, paintings, sculpture and other bits and bobs that Wellington collected through his life. There is also an excellent collection of silverware and porcelain.
Of particular interest is a painting of Wellington by Goya, known as the Equestrian Portrait. It has been proven that originally Goya had painted a portrait of Napoleon's brother Joseph Bonaparte, who Wellington defeated in the Battle of Vitoria (1813), and so it can be assumed that Goya must have simply painted Wellington's face over the top.
Other highlights include an enormous 11ft statue of Napoleon, naked except for a fig leaf, an elaborate silver-gilt service from Portugal that was used by Wellington during his annual banquets commemorating the victory at Waterloo, and a collection of contemporary charicatures.
The Wellington museum is open daily from 11am-5pm daily except for Mondays. Admission costs around £4.
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