Wellington Arch

London, United Kingdom

Wellington Arch


Wellington Arch, also known as Constitution Arch or (originally) as the Green Park Arch, is a Grade I-listed triumphal arch by Decimus Burton that forms a centrepiece of Hyde Park Corner in central London, between corners of Hyde Park and Green Park; it stands on a large traffic island with crossings for pedestrian access. From its construction (1826–1830) the arch stood in a different location nearby; it was moved to its current site in 1882–1883. It originally supported a colossal equestrian statue of the 1st Duke of Wellington by the sculptor Matthew Cotes Wyatt, as a result of which it has acquired the name "the Wellington Arch" in the vernacular. A bronze quadriga (an ancient four-horse chariot) by Adrian Jones has surmounted it since 1912.

Both the Wellington Arch and Marble Arch (originally sited in front of Buckingham Palace) were planned in 1825 by George IV to commemorate Britain's victories in the Napoleonic Wars. During the second half of the 1820s, the Commissioners of Woods and Forests and the King resolved that Hyde Park, and the area around it, should be renovated to match the splendour of rival European capital cities, and that the essence of the new arrangement would be a triumphal approach to the recently completed Buckingham Palace. The committee of the project, led by the Prime Minister, Lord Liverpool, and advised by Charles Arbuthnot, President of the Board of Commissioners of Woods and Forests, selected Decimus Burton as the project's architect. In 1828, when giving evidence to a Parliamentary Select Committee on the Government's spending on public works, Arbuthnot explained that he had nominated Burton "having seen in the Regent's Park, and elsewhere, works which pleased my eye, from their architectural beauty and correctness". Burton intended to create an urban space dedicated to the celebration of the House of Hanover, national pride, and the nation's heroes.

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