The 18ft statue of Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War, commemorates the soldier and politician, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852). It was installed by order of King George III and unveiled on 18 June 1822.
Located near the Queen Elizabeth Gate at Hyde Park Corner, the statue of Achilles was the first statue installed in Hyde Park and was commissioned by a patriotic, upper class society, known as Ladies of England.
The statue was made by Sir Richard Westmacott using 33 tonnes of bronze from cannons captured in Wellington's campaigns in France. The body of the statue is modelled on a Roman figure on Monte Cavallo in Italy. The head is based on the Duke himself.
The statue was originally completely nude and caused outrage so a small fig leaf had to be added soon after it was installed.