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John Charles Felix Rossi, 'Relief of the Duke of Wellington', 1826-32

Key facts
Full title Relief of the Duke of Wellington
Artist John Charles Felix Rossi
Artist dates 1762 - 1839
Date made 1826-32
Medium and support Unidentified
Acquisition credit Commissioned by the Office of Works for the Marble Arch, and installed on the Gallery by 1838
Inventory number H206
Location Not on display
Collection Contextual Collection
Relief of the Duke of Wellington
John Charles Felix Rossi

This bust of the Duke of Wellington, Britain’s most successful general during the Napoleonic Wars, was intended to adorn the top of John Nash’s Marble Arch, where it would have been placed inside a wreath supported by personifications of Europe and Asia. Nash’s project was reduced as it ran into financial difficulties and some of the completed sculptures were later incorporated into the National Gallery’s new building. The wreath and figures were installed above the Gallery’s Portico Entrance but, as the Gallery’s architect, William Wilkins, thought the bust of Wellington was too martial, it was instead placed at the back of the Gallery, overlooking the barracks yard that once occupied that site, until it was moved to its current position inside the Gallery’s West Entrance following the barracks’ demolition in the early 20th century.

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