A RARE PORTRAIT of the Duke of Wellington is going on show in this country for the first time as part of a new exhibition dedicated to his life.
The oil painting was started in 1829, shortly after he became prime minister, but was left unfinished because the artist, Sir Thomas Lawrence, died a year later in 1830.
It was commissioned by one of his supporters, Sarah, Countess of Jersey, who refused to let anyone else finish it.
The painting goes on show at the National Portrait Gallery in London on March 12.
It is part of a show called Wellington: Triumphs, Politics and Passions, which runs until Sunday June 7.
The National Portrait Gallery’s associate curator Paul Cox said: “While it is unfinished, the artist has captured in Wellington’s face a feeling of sensitivity appropriate in a portrait made for one of Wellington’s most devoted friends.”
Also going on show is a portrait of the duke by Spanish artist Goya, and another by Lawrence which was was used as the basis of the design of the £5 note.
The new exhibition looks at Wellington’s military and political careers and is part of a series of events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. A separate website is being launched with an online display of items from the famous battle. It will include the Duke of Wellington’s boots and Napoleon’s cloak. Other items include a French soldier’s body armour with a huge cannon hole in it. The breast plate was worn by cavalry soldier Antoine Fauveau, who was killed when a British cannonball smashed through his chest.