This was the mansion of the Duke of Wellington, the "Iron Duke," one of Britain's greatest generals, who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Later, for a short period while he was prime minister, the duke had to have iron shutters fitted to his windows to protect him from a mob outraged by his autocratic opposition to reform. (His unpopularity soon passed, however.)
The house is crammed with art treasures, including three original Velázquez paintings, and mementos that include the duke's medals and battlefield orders. Apsley House also holds some of the finest silver and porcelain pieces in Europe, displayed in the Plate and China Room. European monarchs grateful to Wellington for saving their thrones showered him with treasures. The collection includes a Sèvres Egyptian service originally intended as a divorce present from Napoleon to Josephine (she refused it); Louis XVIII eventually presented it to Wellington. Another treasure, the Portuguese Silver Service, has been hailed as the single greatest artifact of Portuguese neoclassical silver. See the "West End Attractions" map.
- © Frommer's 2013
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