One of the most famous tenants living in this house was the Duke of Wellington, who lived here between 1817 and 1834. Wellington was a commander in the Battle of Waterloo and defeated Napoleon. He later served as prime minister and his descendants continue to live in the house to this day.
The rooms open to visitors have expensive artwork, sculptures, furniture, silverware, porcelain and personal belongings. In total there are more than 200 works of art from the collection of the Duke.
Here you can also see 200 paintings from the Royal Collection of the Kings of Spain, which Wellington received from Joseph Bonaparte after the Battle of Vittoria in 1813. After King Ferdinand VII was restored to his position as King, he asked Wallington to keep the paintings as a souvenir. The Duke, in his wisdom, agreed. Among these paintings you will also see works by Goya, Velazquez, Caravaggio and Rubens.
A large statue of Napoleon adorns the entrance to Apsley House, displayed like a Greek athlete, sculpted by Antonio Canova. The statue stands at the foot of the large staircase, because it is the only place in the house that is strong enough to hold the weight of the great statue. However, it was still necessary to strengthen the floor to supports its weight. Wellington's sword from Waterloo is displayed in the china room, along with the sword of his great enemy, Napoleon.
In the basement there is an exhibition of military souvenirs, including the story of Napoleon's death and the medals awarded to Wellington by heads of state as gratitude from across Europe. On the first floor there are several other drawing rooms with selected works of art.