Originally built by Robert Adam in the 1770s, for the 2nd Earl of Bathurst, it was nicknamed Number One, London due to its position just past a toll gate into the capital from the west. The houses real claim to fame, however, came when it was bought by the Duke of Wellington on his return home from his campaigns in India, Spain and Portugal. He spent some £64,000 on turning it into a residence appropriate to his status, and today, under the watchful eye of the V&A, it stands as a rare survivor of that near-extinct species – a great town house with most of its prized collections intact. Visitors will again be able to see the glorious Spanish pictures, Paul Prys cartoon of 182 7, A Wellington Boot: or the Head of the Army (above right), and the nude statue by Canova of Wellingtons old adversary, Napoleon (far right), by the flying staircase.
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