Constitution Arch (or Wellington Arch)

Decimus Burton

Constitution Arch (or Wellington Arch) was designed as a memorial to the Duke of Wellington and originally provided a grand entrance to London, built as a northern gate to the grounds of Buckingham Palace. However, in the late nineteenth century the arch was moved to Hyde Park, on an island now in the middle of traffic. Originally, too, the arch was topped with an equestrian statue of the Duke, but it was replaced with the current work, The Quadriga (1912) by Adrian Jones. "It represents Peace descending from Heaven into the chariot of War, causing the horses which draw the fell vehicle to rear up to a standstill. The dramatic proportions of the figures are shown to particular advantage in their lofty situation" (Saunders 169).

Screen, Hyde Park

Decimus Burton

This triple arched gateway at Hyde Park Corner, regarded as the major entrance to London from the west, is near Lord Wellington's Apsley House and Burton's huge triumphal Constitution Arch (above). Whereas the Arch has enormous Corinthian columns and ornament, including the bronze quadriga on the top, this simpler gateway has a horizontal emphasis with delicate Ionic columns. The sculptural frieze on the attic showing Greek soldiers on horsback (based on the Parthenon marbles?) is by John Henning Junior, who with his father, designed the frieze on Burton's Athenaeum.

Work Cited: Anne Saunders. The Art and Architecture of London : An Illustrated Guide. London: Phaidon Press, 2nd edition, 1994.

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