Friday, 28 June 2013

Artful Readers Club - June Read

As a follow on from last month's military history book, this month, my chosen book was the Life of the Duke of Wellington by Rosamond Waite.  The Duke of Wellington  referred to is Arthur Wesley, later Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington b.1769 - d. 1852) most famously remembered for his victory over Emperor Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

I have owned this lovely little book, the 1878 edition,  since the mid 1970's having initially been drawn to it as it contains some wonderful little fold out maps of the Duke's military campaigns.  As a child living in Surrey, England I was always curious as to why our London central railway station was called Waterloo and why so many of the streets near our home were called Waterloo Place or Road etc.  This curiosity introduced me to life long interest in military history, and in particular the Napoleonic wars.

This book is very readable and informative and fairly bounces along.  Most of the Duke's life is well documented but it was interesting to read assessments of his character  by his contemporaries.

As to his immense success, he was described as having "an iron hardihood of body, a quick and sure vision, a grasping mind, untiring power of thought and the habit of laborious, minute investigation and arrangement ... and that most rare faculty of coming to prompt and sure conclusions on sudden emergencies".

In addition to his success as a military figure, he was also twice Prime Minister of Great Britain.  We could do with someone of his calibre now!

For my artwork, I ventured into uncharted territory with white Indian ink, acrylic paints and a Gelli Plate.

The profile of the Duke is based on an 1822 sketch made at a dinner party he was attending.  The background represents the colours of the armies, the explosions during battle and the regimented ranks of soldiers forming square (top left).

Thank you for stopping by and do feel free to leave a comment.  I do appreciate them all.  I state in advance that my next book will NOT be military history!

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