Rare Photograph of the Duke of Wellington in Color

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington was born over 249 years ago on the 1st May 1769 in Dublin, Ireland. He joined the British Army in 1787 at the age of 18 and saw action in 60 battles in multiple wars including the Flanders Campaign, the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, the Second Anglo-Maratha War, and the Napoleonic Wars during his 65 years of military service. He worked his way up to Field Marshal on 21st June 1813 and remained Commander-in-Chief of the British Army until his death in 1852 at the age of 83.

This 1819 painting shows the Battle of Waterloo. The 1st Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, leading a charge against the French Imperial Guards on 18th June 1815. It was the last major battle of the Napoleonic War.

After the Duke of Wellington’s success in the Battle of Waterloo, defeating Napoleon, it made him a famous figure and is considered now as one of Britain’s greatest military figures. After the Waterloo Campaign, Arthur Wellesley left his active military duties and ventured into politics. He served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for the Tory Party from 1828-1830 and then for a month in 1834. He also held multiple other positions in government such as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, and he was Leader of the House of Lords 3 times between 1828 and 1846. When Wellesley died, he was given a state funeral, making him one of only a few people who were not royal to be given a state funeral. 

Painting by Thomas Lawrence of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, in 1815 after the Battle of Waterloo.
A photograph of a 76-year-old Arthur Wellesley in 1845. At this time he would have been Leader of the House of Lords.

There are very few known photographs of this magnificent man. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, lived the majority of his life before the existence of cameras so the photographs that exist are of him much later in life. Furthermore, the images of him are of very low quality. Thanks to the hard work of Marina Amaral, we get to see the Duke of Wellington in color!

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, aged 74 or 75 in 1844. This photograph is in color thanks to Marina Amaral

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