Skip to main content

The Duke of Wellington (seated): C.1022-1928

An image of Figure

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


The Duke of Wellington (seated)


Production: Unidentified factory (Possibly Lloyd)




White earthenware moulded in several parts and pearlware glazed. Painted with black, grey, red and flesh-pink enamels, and gold.

The Duke of Wellington, with grey hair and serious gaze suggesting the elder statesman, sits in a high-backed arm-chair, in relaxed but alert pose, with his left hand raised towards his head. His right hand rests on a hat, on his lap. His legs are crossed and his right foot rests on a cushion. He wears a jacket, waistcoat and bow tie, each edged and decorated with gilt; his shoes are black. His eyebrows are finely painted. The figure is mainly white, with features picked out in enamels and gilt. The base is rectangular base and outlined in gilt. It has a scalloped bottom edge at the front, with ‘Wellington’ inscribed in gilded script above.The underside is concave and glazed, with a round vent hole. The back is mainly flat, with vent hole 22.5cm from the bottom. There is no decoration to back or sides.


History note: 109 South 15th Street Philadelphia U.S.A. Bought on 23 April 1910, for $18, by Dr Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L.Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 16.5 cm
Depth: 6.5 in
Height: 30.5 cm
Height: 12 in
Width: 12 cm
Width: 4.75 in

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1928) by Glaisher, J. W. L., Dr


19th Century, Mid#
Production date: circa AD 1850


Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) was a British Field Marshall and elder statesman.. He is perhaps best known for his victory over the French, led by Napoleon, at Waterloo on 18 June 1815. From 1828-30 he was Prime Minister, and from 1834-1835 served as Foreign Secretary under Sir Robert Peel. Wellington died in his chair, at home in Walmer Castle, Kent and was given a state funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Rackham (1935) lists this figure as of a type made chiefly by Sampson Smith at Longton. But it does not share features typically associated with the Samson Smith factory, which only began around 1851, and is more likely to have been made by one of the many other manufacturers of figures working in Staffordshire at this time. Although it is mainly unpainted, a version held by the Stoke on Trent Museum is well coloured, with underglaze blue jacket and with the chair-back and the top of the base painted in ‘feathered’ stripes , in pink and green respectively. This painting style is unusual, though has also been found on one or two other figures which may possibly have been made by John & Rebecca Lloyd, who made both earthenware and porcelain figures at Shelton, between 1834 and 1852.

There are also similarities between the moulding and scale of this figure and that of the collection’s other Victorian Staffordshire figure of Wellington (standing) (C.1001-1928), on which the purple trousers are painted in a similar ‘feathered’ stripe.

Wellington is shown as an elder statesman in his chair, so the figure was probably made towards the end of his life (he died in 1852). The source is probably a lithograph by Louisa Corbaux, in which Wellington sits, relaxed, in a high backed chair, which was published two dats after Wellington's death as the music cover for the song, 'Wellington', by Charles Jefferys.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( black, grey, red and flesh-pink) gold

Materials used in production

White earthenware

Techniques used in production

Press-moulding : White earthenware moulded in several parts and pearlware glazed. Painted with black, grey, red and flesh-pink enamels, and gilt. The underside is concave and glazed, with a round vent hole. The back is mainly flat, with vent hole 22.5cm from the bottom. There is no decoration to back or sides.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: gilt script inscription, ‘Wellington’

  • Text: Wellington
  • Location: Front of base
  • Method of creation: Painted in gilt
  • Type: Title

Inscription present: rectangular paper label handwritten in black ink

  • Text: Duke of Wellington [...] b. Philadelphia 23 April 1910
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Handwritten in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1022-1928
Primary reference Number: 71184
Old object number: 3421
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "The Duke of Wellington (seated)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-22 06:30:43

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=The Duke of Wellington (seated) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-05-22 06:30:43|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        alt="The Duke of Wellington (seated)"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">The Duke of Wellington (seated)</figcaption>

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...