A spectacular dinner, set used by Duke of Wellington to celebrate his victory over Napoleon and considered one of the finest ever made, is going on public display at his home in Piccadilly.
The set, which originally comprised of over 400 gilded pieces, is being laid out on a dining room table at Apsley House , English Heritage has announced.
It will be displayed in the opulent surroundings of the Waterloo Gallery, a room created to host the Duke’s annual Waterloo Banquet – a lavish dinner celebrating the battle’s victory with the King and a select few.
The Prussian service, commissioned in 1817 by King Frederick William III of Prussia, was presented as a gift to honour the 1st Duke of Wellington, who is revered in the home of the British Army Aldershot , after his victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
It is regarded as one of the finest ever made by the Berlin Porcelain Factory, and taking two years to produce, included 100 dinner plates, 62 dessert plates and an array of vases, wine coolers, ice-cream pails, fruit baskets and decorative statues.
The dessert plates, each depicting a place or event connected to the 1st Duke’s life, will be also be displayed chronologically.
Starting with his birthplace of Dublin, through his battles in India, Assaye and Seringapatam and the Peninsular Wars, and finally to Waterloo and the opening of Waterloo Bridge with George IV, each item is a work of art in its own right.
The pieces will surround a massive obelisk centrepiece, decorated with gilt letters showing the Duke’s many titles.
Josephine Oxley, English Heritage’s curator, said: “To display the magnificent Prussian dinner service for the first time as it would have been used by the 1st Duke of Wellington is a great privilege.
"These rich and fascinating items tell the remarkable story of a man who made a great impact on the history of Europe and the service exists as the ultimate display of respect and gratitude.
"The 200th anniversary year of its commission is the perfect time to share these historic mementos with the public and transform Apsley from a house to a home.”
The service has been on display at Apsley in the Museum Room, however, this will be the first time it will be displayed on a table for the public to see.