27 March 2017

Public served a treat with Wellington's banquet table

A banquet table setting used by 1st Duke of Wellington will be on display at Apsley House from April
The Prussian service on dispay at Apsley House

A dining service given to the 1st Duke of Wellington 200 years ago to celebrate his victory at the Battle of Waterloo will be on display at his London home.

From April, the dinner setting will give visitors a glimpse of high society in the Waterloo Gallery of Apsley House for the first time. This room was created to host Wellington's annual Waterloo Banquet, which celebrated the 1815 victory with George IV and a select few.

The dinnerware, known as the Prussian service, was a gift from King Frederick William III of Prussia after Wellington's victory over Napoleon.

A close up of the Prussian service on dispay at Apsley House

The Prussian service was considered the finest ever made by its creator, the Berlin Porcelain Factory. Taking more than two years to make, it originally comprised over 400 gilded pieces including 100 dinner plates and 62 dessert plates. It also featured a selection of vases, wine coolers, ice-cream pails, fruit baskets and decorative statues.

A number of these items will be incorporated into the new showcase, along with an obelisk decorated with gilt letters of the Wellington's many titles.

The exterior of Apsley House

Also on display will be a series of dessert plates depicting places and events connected to Wellington. Beginning with his birthplace of Dublin, the plates also commemorate his victories in India, Portugal and Spain. The series also features the Battle of Waterloo and the opening of Waterloo Bridge with George IV.

A close up of the Prussian service on dispay at Apsley House

Josephine Oxley, English Heritage's Curator, said:

"To display the magnificent Prussian dinner service for the first time as it would have been used by the 1st Duke of Wellington is a great privilege. These rich and fascinating items tell the remarkable story of a man who made a great impact on the history of Europe and the service exists as the ultimate display of respect and gratitude.

''The 200th anniversary year of its commission is the perfect time to share these historic mementos with the public and transform Apsley from a house to a home."

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