Bust of Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington
Francis Chantrey (1781-1841)
19th century, White Marble
In all probability, this marble bust was based on one of the two plaster models the English sculptor Francis Chantrey made a short time after 1814, when Arthur Wellesley was named Duke of Wellington, following Napoleon's first defeat. This artwork was completed years later, and was gifted along with an analogous plaster bust to the University of Oxford by the artist's widow. Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey was a key figure of the Georgian era and was still active during the early years of the long reign of Queen Victoria, whom he also immortalized in a bust in 1841. In his youth, he attended the Royal Academy, and became a member in 1819, the same year he travelled to Italy to study ancient and contemporary art. A skilled and successful portraitist, he is known for having sculpted the busts of many illustrious figures, and his mastery of faithfully capturing his subject’s physiognomy as well as their psychological characteristics was particularly appreciated.