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"A Sketch in the Park" (the Duke of Wellington and Mrs Arbuthnot)


Code: 10544


H: 29.2cm (11.5")W: 22.8cm (9")

"A Sketch in the Park"
(a double portrait of the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) and Harriet Arbuthnot (1793–1834))
Lithograph on chine-collé
Published 1834
29.2 cm x 22.8 cm (chine-collé)
34.6 cm x 25.4 cm (whole sheet)

Lettered below image with the title "A SKETCH IN THE PARK" and "Published by T. McLean, 26, Haymarket, July 27, 1834 / Maguire & Co. lithog."

Sketch portrait of a couple walking who can be identified as Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington in profile in a top hat walking arm-in-arm with Mrs. Arbuthnot, who wears a bonnet and carries a parasol in her left hand. If there was any doubt as to the subjects, they stroll beside a fence, beyond which can be seen, in outline, Sir Richard Westmacott's statue of Achilles - raised in honour and dedicated to the Duke in 1822.

Harriet Arbuthnot (1793–1834) (née Fane) was the Duke of Wellington's closest female confidant. She was a granddaughter of the Earl of Westmorland and her husband was the diplomat and politician Rt Hon Charles Arbuthnot M.P., also a close friend of the Duke of Wellington.

Mrs Arbuthnot was a hugely influential political hostess and one of the great diarists of the early 19th-Century. Her friendship with Wellington led to much public speculation about the nature of their relationship, as the presence of this well documented by an print demonstrates. It is generally now accepted that their affection for one another was platonic, though some still argue to the contrary. She died on 2 August 1834, just six days after this image was published. The illustrator of the image here is anonymous and their are a number of candidates.

See BM 1868,0808.9387 for similar.