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Apsley House was built between 1771 and 1788 and has been the residence of the Dukes of Wellington since 1817.
Home to the 1st Duke of Wellington after his victory over Napoleon at Waterloo, the interior of the house has changed very little since the day he first bought it. It was originally designed by Robert Adam for Henry Bathurst, 1st Baron Apsley between 1771 and 1778, but was radically altered by Benjamin Dean Wyatt under Wellington's instruction. Ordering for it to be decorated in the latest Regency style, the 'Iron Duke' filled his home with paintings, trophies and portraits illustrating his achievements.
In 2015 the Waterloo Gallery was transformed to celebrate the bicentenary of the famous battle. The great Waterloo Banquet has been recreated in the space, featuring a table laid with over 1,000 pieces from the silver Portuguese Service. This dinner was held annually to mark Napoleon's defeat.
The refurbishment project also includes a new exhibition in the basement gallery, showcasing memorabilia, medals and shields – some of which have never been seen on display before.
The interior contains an outstanding collection of pictures, many of which originally belonged to the king of Spain. There are works by Velázquez (including his famous Waterseller of Seville), Rubens and Goya, Dutch 17th-century paintings, and a colossal nude statue of Napoleon by Canova. Also on show is silver, porcelain and the lavish gilt Portuguese service awarded to Wellington.