The stunning English Heritage building of Apsley House is set to re-open its doors next month.
Located close to Hyde Park, the amazing house, often called Number One, London, was once home to the first Duke of Wellington, but has been closed recently due to a major project to mark the commemoration of The Battle of Waterloo.
Apsley House is regarded as having one of the finest art collections in the capital, with pieces by Velazquez and Rubens. In addition, it has an extensive collection of high-quality silver and porcelain.
As part of the 2015 re-opening, visitors will be able to enjoy a new multimedia guide that will provide a great way to learn about the Regency period and the finer details of the amazing house.
The work has also included the creation of a new basement gallery that will feature items that have never been able to be viewed before, including new memorabilia on display such as medals and shields.
Apsley House was home to the so-called ‘Iron Duke’ after defeating Napoleon and it is still a key residence of the Dukes of Wellington.
The house was initially designed and furnished in the neoclassical style by Robert Adam in the 1770s, but it was extensively remodelled for the Duke of Wellington from 1819 and remains pretty much the same to this day.
One of the highlights is the interior, with elaborate plaster ceilings and friezes surviving in the Piccadilly Drawing Room and the Portico Drawing Room.
There are also stunning marble chimneypieces, including the Portico Room chimneypiece which decorated with a frieze of Cupid and Psyche and suggests the room may have originally been used as a ladies’ drawing room.
Another key feature of the house is the State Dining Room, which can be found on the first floor. It was built in 1819 as part of a three-storey addition to the house. Visitors will be able to admire the Portuguese Service, which is an impressive silver and silver-gilt dinner service presented to Wellington by the Portuguese Council of Regency in 1816.
The tour will also take in the double-height Waterloo Gallery, which occupies the whole length of the first floor of the western side of Apsley House and is decorated in Louis XIV style, with a total of seven mirrored window shutters inspired by the architecture of the Palace of Versailles.
There is no parking for visitors and people are advised to travel to the house by bus, train or tube. The nearest London Underground Station is Hyde Park Corner.
Entry to the house is £8.30 for adults and £5 for children. Members of the English Heritage are able to visit for free if they show their annual passes. There are concession and group rates available as well.
Aspley House will also be taking part in this year’s Museum at Night initiative, when for two nights a year, many key venues across London will allow the public in to get a very different experience.
During the summer months, the house will be open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm. In the winter months this reduces to just weekend opening.