At the time of this portrait, the Iron Duke was 46 years old, and at the summit of his military career. He is shown wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece with which he had been invested on the 7th of August 1812 and the star and sash of the Order of the Garter, to which he had been nominated in March 1813, although only invested a year later because of his continued absence abroad.
Wellington arrived in Paris at the beginning of July 1815 just before Louis XVIII returned to the capital. He played a major role in the peace negotiations, striving, successfully, to prevent draconian reparations from the defeated French and Blucher's intention of executing Napoleon. On October 22nd he was appointed Supreme Commander of the Allied occupying forces, a position which he continued to hold until November 1818.
No other portrait of the Duke depicts him in precise profile to the left and the present lot is an important addition to the iconography. In the miniature of the same year by Simon Jacques Rochard, his hairstyle is closely similar but he is wearing different Orders. The Isabey miniature of 1818, now in the Wallace Collection, shows him wearing the same Orders but in a civilian coat instead of his red military uniform.
Etienne-Charles Le Guay was arguably the greatest painter on porcelain of his day. He worked at Sèvres, with interruptions, from 1771 to 1840, and at various other times as a miniaturist on Paris porcelain. The present lot represents a significant contribution to his oeuvre.