Arthur Wellesley

Sir_Arthur_Wellesley_1st_Duke_of_Wellington_01aSir Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.

Arthur Wellesley was born in Dublin on this day in 1769. The Iron Duke forged a stellar military career defeating the French time and again. During the Peninsular Wars Wellington saw off the French at the Battle of Salamanca on the 22nd of July 1812, however, he is better known for the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo on the 18th of June 1815. Wellesley went on to serve as Prime Minister from 1828-30. He died in September 1852.

The Duke of Wellington will also be remembered for the Hessian boots he so elegantly popularised and for the stylish (and much copied) chest of drawers he commissioned for use during his campaigns (figs. 1 & 2).

Geo_IV_rosewood_Wellington_chest_c1830_01aFig. 1. Geo IV rosewood Wellington chest, circa 1830. (Thakeham Furniture)

Geo_IV_rosewood_Wellington_chest_c1830_01bFig. 2. Unlocked Wellington chest with secretaire drawer withdrawn. (Thakeham Furniture)

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
This entry was posted in Antiques, Distractions and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Arthur Wellesley

  1. Joe M says:

    Jack, Do you know what is the approximate size of this chest? Does the key,on the hinged “locking side upright”, activate some type of rod or pin that engages the top and base? What retains the other hinged side upright?


    • Jack Plane says:

      The chest is 43″ high, 26″ wide and 17″ deep.

      The locking mechanism isn’t anything complicated; there’s a ‘Wellington’ lock, mounted either in the carcase, or in (usually) the right flap (see below) and the opposite hinged flap is merely there to add balance and normally doesn’t contain a lock.



  2. potomacker says:

    It’s just possible to detect the early considerations in what became the campaign furniture style. There must have been a carrying case for this piece since it has no handles. Do you know, given its original ownership, whether such a packing crate still exists?


  3. Ken says:

    On the American version of Antique Roadshow, the furniture experts are very critical of over cleaning antique furniture. I couldn’t help but notice that this piece looks like it was made yesterday. In general do you feel that you should leave the patina as is or clean it up?


    • Jack Plane says:

      I can think of only four or five restorers both here in Australia and in the UK who I would trust to clean an antique surface. There is very rarely any need to take such drastic action. The advice is always to leave well alone.

      Refinishers – like all criminals – should be, and should remain, incarcerated!



  4. Pingback: Picture This XCV | Pegs and 'Tails

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