News of Waterloo


This painting, entitled Chelsea Pensioners Reading the Gazette after the Battle of Waterloo, by Scottish artist Sir David Wilkie, was commissioned by the Duke of Wellington and shows a group of wounded, invalided and elderly soldiers celebrating the British victory at Waterloo. Presumably, they are reading the London Gazette, an official publication that included army despatches and reports of military engagements. Within the group there is a Black soldier, in what looks like a musician's uniform, as well as a soldier from India (although it is unlikely that this soldier is Asian).

In his notes composed when the painting was first shown at the Royal Academy, in 1822, Wilkie describes the Black soldier as:

'...one of the band of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, who was in France during the Revolution; was present at the death of Louis XVI, and was afterwards servant to General Moreau, in his campaigns in Germany...'

He does not, however, give the soldier's name.

The Wellington Museum, Apsley House 1469-1948 (1822)
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