The Wellington Arch

The Wellington Arch and its companion Marble Arch have interesting histories.  The English Heritage guidebook introduction gives a brief overview:

Usually built to commemorate a great victory, the triumphal arch was a familiar feature of the Roman world.  In the 1820s, this classical model was adapted by two of the finest architects on the day: Decimus Burton used it for the Wellington Arch, and John Nash copied the Arch of Constantine in Rome as the basis for the Marble Arch.  This was no mere accident, since both arches were indeed mean to serve as victory monuments.  After much public lobbying, Britain was at last to have appropriate memorials marking its military and naval triumphs over Napoleonic France.

The patron behind these works was King George IV, who had long been greatly interested in architecture.  His vision was that of a grand ceremonial route into his newly planned metropolitan residence, Buckingham Palace.  The Wellington Arch would serve as the outer entrance at the top of Constitution Hill, and the Marble Arch would open gloriously into the courtyard of the palace itself.

The guidebook goes onto explain the context for design and construction of each arch and also their turbulent later histories, including their complete removal to fresh sites in the Victorian era, through to the present day.

The Quadriga

Wellington Arch Gate

4 Comments CherryPie on Jan 3rd 2014

4 Responses to “The Wellington Arch”

  1. Astrid says:

    I love these victory monuments, they are so beautiful. The sculptures on top are wonderful and the door is just amazing.
    What a way to show the people, what victory there was. Most of people could not read, so this would be like the headlines of the newspaper….. I hope you can follow my brainf**t…….

  2. J_on_tour says:

    Glorious structure.
    I’m ashamed to say that after having been to London on numerous occasions, I have never ever seen this. The only time I have been near it was when I cut through Green Park on the latest visit as there were repair hoardings up everywhere near the tube station.

    • CherryPie says:

      This visit was a first for me. I chose it especially because at the time it was displaying an exhibition called ‘Brutal and Beautiful’. They are 20th century buildings that have been preserved for the future. The selection is varied, some beautiful and some ugly but all have a place in history and contribute to our architectural heritage.