goya-duke-of-wellington

Francisco De Goya’s Portrait of The Duke Of Wellington.

Purchased for the nation at great cost and placed on exhibition 3rd August 1961 at the National Gallery in London.

Found missing at 10.45 pm on the 21st of August 1961.

(Coincidentally, fifty years to the day, exactly, that the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911.)

Returned on 22nd May 1965.

The Duke had been ‘absent without leave’ for a few months short of four years.

During that time a bizarre story unfolded that still leaves unanswered questions to this day.

2015 marked not only the 200th anniversary of the Duke’s victory at Waterloo in 1815 but also the 50th anniversary of the portrait’s return to the National Gallery.

But after half a century, is that the end of the story?

Does new evidence suggest that the portrait of the Duke, still hanging at the National Gallery today, might not be the original picture purchased in 1961 but a cleverly crafted imposter?