Iron Duke in Bronze by Steell – Pencil on rough cartridge paper

This is a preliminary sketch for a painting commissioned from me. I made a few sketches of the Iron Duke and this is the one chosen.

The statue is of the Duke of Wellington and stands, outside Register House, at the junction of Waterloo Place, Princes Street and North Bridge in Edinburgh. He is shown sitting on his charger, Copenhagen a massive beast which supported him for 18hours during the battle of Waterloo. Copenhagen was buried with full military honours when he died years later. When the statue was unveiled, the press played on the words used in this title. The Iron Duke was Wellington’s nickname and was regarded as the saviour of his country due to his defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo among other European battles. The statue is in bronze and is reputed to be made from captured French cannon while the sculptor is Sir John Robert Steell (1804 -1891) a Scot who was responsible for many of Edinburgh’s well known monuments. Register House, shown behind the statue, was designed by Robert Adam (1728 -1792) for the purposes of keeping the Nations documents safe. The walls were made extra thick and the place had a form of central heating to cut down the risk of fire.

It is impossible to imagine how Wellington was revered by the country. A study of history shows that fear of invasion, from the continent, was endemic and many thought that revolutionary fervour would soon spread across the English Channel. This whole area, in the city, commemorates this period. Waterloo Place commences at this point with two massive matching buildings forming a gateway, to the east, to join with Regent Place. As Edinburgh’s New Town’s buildings are mostly named after royalty (e.g. Princes Street, Queen Street etc) I think you might get the idea.

If I ever manage to complete the final painting I’ll post a scan of it.