Few addresses hold the majesty of ‘Number One London’, the official address for the central London abode of Apsley House, located at Hyde Park Corner. Once home to the Duke of Wellington, the Georgian manor was built between 1771-1778 and remains remarkably preserved with much of its interior design and furnishings dating back to the start of the Duke’s residency in 1817. The stunning house, a popular attraction in itself, became an English Heritage site in 1947 and is now home to the Wellington Museum where the Duke’s personal collection of art and artifacts – many gifted to him in thanks for his military successes – are on display.
Ten of the rooms are open to the public, including the renowned Waterloo Gallery, fashioned to the blueprint of the Versailles’ Hall Of Mirrors; the Inner Hall, decorated with the leather-bound photography collections of Wellington; the Drawing Room, decked out with military paraphernalia and a series of famous Waterloo portraits and the grand Dining Room where the annual ‘Waterloo Banquet’ was served from a thousand-piece silver-gilt Portuguese service. Throughout the rooms, exhibits chronicle the history of Wellington’s stay at Apsley House, featuring details of the house’s design and construction, alongside a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, ceramics and personal items. Highlights include an 11-foot high Canova statue of a naked Napoleon standing proud beside the central stairwell, and a celebrated trio of Velázquez paintings – The Water-Seller of Seville, Portrait of a Gentleman and Two Young Men Eating at a Humble Table.