The Art of Waterloo


The Battle of Waterloo has inspired artists, poets and writers for centuries. To coincide with our Creative Arts Programme, we’ve decided to highlight our favourite pieces of art associated with Waterloo!


The Field of Waterloo exhibited 1818 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

The Field of Waterloo

J.M.W. Turner, 1818


Turner completed this painting based on sketches he took of the battlefield in 1817, when he visited as a tourist.
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The Chelsea Pensioners Reading the Waterloo Dispatch

David Wilkie, 1822


The painting was commissioned by the Duke of Wellington in 1816 and took almost 6 years to complete. It currently resides in Apsley House. 
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The Battle of Waterloo

Jan Willem Pieneman, 1824


Dutch artist Pieneman shows the Duke of Wellington being told that Prussian forces are coming to his aid, while the Prince of Orange lies injured.
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The Returning Soldier

David Samuel, 2015


This mural, in Shoreditch, was a collaboration between the National Army Museum, artist David Samuel, and street artists RareKind, commissioned for the bicentenary of the battle.
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The Waterloo Shield

Thomas Stothard, 1822


This silver-gilt shield was commissioned by the merchants and bankers of the City of London after a design by Thomas Stothard, showing scenes from Wellington’s life in each panel. It’s currently in the Wellington Collection at Apsley House.
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War. The Exile and the Rock Limpet

J.M.W. Turner, 1842


This painting depicts Napoleon in the final years of his exile on St Helena, where he was sent after his defeat at Waterloo. Turner described the sunset behind Napoleon as a "sea of blood".
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Closing the Gates at Hougoumont

Robert Gibb, 1903


Scottish artist Gibb's painting, which is housed in the National War Museum in Edinburgh, depicts the moment Scots Guards and Coldstream Guards shut the North Gate at Hougoumont against invading French troops.
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Allegory of Waterloo

James Ward, 1821


Completed in 1821 after 6 years and measuring a massive 21x35 feet, it was cut into several pieces to make it easier to display, and these pieces have since been lost. Only preparatory sketches and studies remain, like this one in the collection of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
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The Battle of Waterloo

Core246, 2015


This mural by artist Core246 is from a street art competition held in 2015 near the South Bank in London, aptly named the Battle of Waterloo due to its proximity to the station.
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The Struggle for Hougoumont

Chris Collingwood, 21st Century


This painting depicts Coldstream Guards firing over the garden wall in defence of Hougoumont farm, a key strategic position during the Battle of Waterloo.
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Prussian Attack on Plancenoit

Adolf Northern, 1864


German artist Adolf Northern, depicts Prussian forces achieving victory over French troops including the Young Guard Division in the village of Plancenoit.
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Waterloo Watercolours

Thomas Stoney, 1815


Irish artist Thomas Stoney painted these watercolour landscape views of Waterloo and Quatre Bras, immediately after the battle in 1815, making them the earliest known images of the Waterloo battlefield.
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The Death Mask of Napoleon

Salvador Dali, 1970


This sculpture was modelled from the actual death mask of Napoleon, and was created for French president Pompidou. It features a death mask placed over a rhinoceros with horns bursting through the eyes and forehead.
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Napoleon as Mars the Peacekeeper

Antonio Canova, 1806


Though Napoleon commissioned the statue, he felt it was “too athletic” and it was not displayed publicly until it was purchased by the British after Napoleon’s defeat. The Prince Regent presented it to Wellington in 1816, and it is now displayed in Apsley House.
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A Cavalry Charge

David Cartwright, 20th Century


This painting by 20th century artist David Cartwright depicts British Cavalry charging into battle at Waterloo.
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The Battle of Waterloo: The British Squares Receiving the Charge of the French Cuirassiers

Henri Emmanuel Philippoteaux, 1874


This depiction of French Cuirassiers charging British troops by French artist Henri Emmanuel Philippoteaux, is currently in Apsley House.
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The Battle of Waterloo

Howard Morgan, 2015


This painting was commissioned by Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Douro to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle.
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Scotland Forever!

Lady Elizabeth Butler, 1881


One of the most famous images of Waterloo from war artist Lady Elizabeth Butler (who specialised in highly detailed depictions of the Crimean and Napoleonic Wars), this became the inspiration for the charge of the Scots Greys in the film Waterloo.
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A Dialogue at Waterloo

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, 1850


This painting depicts Wellington returning to the battlefield with his daughter in law after the battle.
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The Duke of Wellington

Michael Craig-Martin, 2015


This colour changing digital portrait of the Duke of Wellington by Sir Michael Craig-Martin, was first exhibited in Apsley House for the bicentenary of the battle. It’s based on a famous 1817 portrait of the Duke by Thomas Lawrence.