Danae by Titian, 1551-53, today in the collection of Apsley House.
Built / Designed For: Baron Apsley, later 2nd Earl of Bathurst.
House & Family History: Apsley House, as originally built by Robert Adam for Lord Apsley, later 3rd Earl Bathurst, was a five-bay red brick house. In 1807 the House was bought by Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington's elder brother. When Lord Wellesley began to have financial difficulties in 1817 he sold the House to his famous brother for £42,000 (approximately £32 million in 2016 inflation-adjusted values using the labour value commodity index). The 1st Duke employed Benjamin Dean Wyatt to make major additions to the House between 1827 and 1830, including adding two bays to the west, adding the great Corinthian portico on the front, and the building of the enormous Waterloo Gallery; the entire House was then encased in Bath stone. In the 18th century Apsley House was the first house seen after passing the toll gates at the top of Knightsbridge; this prominent position led to its popular nickname "No. 1 London." Beef Wellington and Wellington Boots, or Wellies, were both named after the 1st Duke of Wellington (the "Iron Duke"), victor over Napoleon at Waterloo, later prime minister, and a prominent statesman. Beef Wellington bears his name not because the duke was a great gourmet, but because the finished joint of beef was thought to resemble one of the brown shiny military boots which were named after him. On April 1, 2004 the Department for Culture, Media and Sport transferred management and ownership of Apsley House to English Heritage. For the past 50 years (since the House and its contents was left to the Nation by the 7th Duke in 1947) the House was owned by DCMS and its predecessor government agencies, who also maintained the fabric of the building, while the collections and the museum were managed by the Victoria & Albert Museum; both functions are today handled by English Heritage.
Architect: James WyattDate: 1807
Architect: Benjamin Dean WyattDate: 1818-30
Title: London Interiors from the Archives of Country Life
Author: Cornforth, John
Year Published: 2000
Reference: pg. 119
Publisher: London: Aurum Press
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
Author: Colvin, Howard
Year Published: 1995
Reference: pgs. 1105, 1120
Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
Book Type: Softback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: No Park
Current Seat / Home of: Arthur Charles Valerian Wellesley, 9th Duke of Wellington; Wellesley family here since 1807.
Past Seat / Home of: Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst, late 18th century. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, 19th century; Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, 19th century.
Current Ownership Type: English Heritage
Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction
Ownership Details: Apsley House is owned by English Heritage. The Duke of Wellington maintains apartments in perpetuity in the private part of the house, which serves as his London home.