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Marble Arch

Hob Uid: 1492760
Location :
Greater London Authority
City Of Westminster
Grid Ref : TQ2785280968
Summary : A triumphal arch and formal ceremonial entrance to Buckingham Palace designed by John Nash in 1825, originally intended as a national memorial to British Military and Naval triumphs during the Napoleonic Wars, bearing trophies and commemorative sculptures by John Flaxman, Sir Richard Westmacott, Edward Hodges Baily, John Charles Rossi and Francis Chantry. Construction started in 1827, overseen by Joseph Browne, but ceased in 1830 due to rising costs. Nash was replaced by Edward Blore and construction restarted in 1832 but without its elaborate attic stage, accompaning sculpture or the equestrian statue of George IV which was to be situated on the top of the arch. The work was completed in 1833. The gates at the centre of the arch, designed by Samuel Parker, were made by the firm Bramah and Prestage and installed in 1837. Some of the unused pieces of sculpture were used at Buckingham Palace and the National Gallery, and in 1843 the equestrian statue was installed in Trafalgar Square. The arch was dismantled by Thomas Cubitt in 1850 due to the expansion of Buckingham Palace. It was rebuilt in the northeast corner of Hyde Park at Cumberland Gate as a ceremonial entrance following a decision by Decimus Burton and W A Nesfield. The rebuilding of the arch was by Thomas Cubitt, who incorporated three internal rooms, was completed in March 1851. From December 1851 the arch was used by the Metropolitan Police as a Police Station. The arch measures 18.3 metres east-west by 9.1 metres north-south. It is faced in white Carrara marble and follows Nash's original design up to the principal cornice. The attic level is of Blore's design.
More information : Triumphal arch designed in 1828 by John Nash who was inspired by Percier and Fontaine's Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, and modelled on the Arc of Constantine in Rome. Originally the arch was intended to commemorate the victories of Trafalgar and Waterloo but was changed with panels representing the Spirit of England inspiring Youth, Valour, Virtue, Peace and Plenty, with much of this work executed by Flaxman, Westmacott, Rossi and Baily. The arch was originally designed as the grand forecourt gateway to Buckingham Palace but was finished by Edward Blore without much of its intended sculpture, for example the equestrian statue of George IV which now stands in Trafalgar Square. It is constructed of Seravezza marble and comprises three archways flanked by Corinthian columns rising from plinths. The bronze gates were by Samuel Parker.

The arch was moved to present position, the north east entrance to Hyde Park in 1851 but is now isolated from the park on a
roundabout. (1-2)

The arch was designed by John Nash in 1825 and was originally intended as a national memorial to British Military and naval triumphs during the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815) and would bear trophies and commemorative sculptures. It was also the formal, ceremonial entrance to Buckingham Palace.

John Flaxman was commissioned for the commemorative sculpture. The east front and north end would depict a record of the Battle of Waterloo, the west front and south end the Battle of Trafalgar. The top of the arch would have an equestrian statue of the king. However, following Flaxman's death in 1826 several sculptors were commissioned; Sir Richard Westmacott was offered the principal frieze around the attic level of the arch comprising a continous panel of the Battle of Waterloo, and three sections depicting Nelson's life and a low relief of Fame displaying Britain's recent military and naval triumphs. He was also to be responsible for the east side of the arch which depicted the Battle of Waterloo - which included two reliefs, three keystones, six victories and four warrior statues to surmount columns on the Waterloo side. Edward Hodges Bailey was commissioned work on the Trafalgar side of the arch - four statues for the columns, two panels, and for the attic pedestal - a relief of Britannia supporting a medallion of Nelson flanked by a lion and a unicorn. The attic pedestal would also have a Victory at each corner. John Charles Rossi was commissioned to undertake the relief on the other side of the pedestal comprising Europe seated on a horse and Asia on a camel, supporting a medallion bearing the head of the Duke of Wellington. Francis Chantrey designed the equestrian statue for the summit of the arch.

Construction started in 1827 and was undertaken by Joseph Browne. However, due to rising construction costs work ceased in 1830 and Nash was replaced by Edward Blore. A much simplified plan of the arch which excluded the attic stage, much of its sculpture and equestrian statue was imposed in 1832 and work was completed in 1833. The gates at the centre of the arch, originally designed by Samuel Parker, were made by the firm Bramah and Prestage and erected in 1837.

Pieces of the unused sculpture including parts of Westmacott's frieze of Waterloo and Nelson panels were used at Buckingham Palace. His victory statues and Rossi's relief of Europe and Asia were used at the National Gallery. In 1843 the equestrian statue was installed on one of the granite pedestals in Trafalgar Square.

Due to expansion of Buckingham Palace the arch was dismantled by Thomas Cubitt in the autumn of 1850 and rebuilt at Cumberland Gate as a ceremonial entrance in the northeast corner of Hyde Park following a decision by Decimus Burton and W A Nesfield. The rebuilding of the arch was by Thomas Cubitt, who incorporated three internal rooms, was completed in March 1851. From December 1851 the arch was used by the Metropolitan Police as a Police Station.

The arch measures 18.3 metres east-west by 9.1 metres north-south. It is faced in white Carrara marble and follows Nash's original design up to the principal cornice, the attic level is Blore's design. (3)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Discovering London Statues and Monuments
Source details :
Page(s) : 82-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Collections Review
Source details : Brindle S., Turner M; Public Statues and Monuments in Central London
Page(s) : 104-11
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : Vol 3
Source Number : 3
Source : The Marble Arch, City of Westminster: History, Architecture and Fabric
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 11

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Designed in 1825
Monument End Date : 1825
Monument Start Date : 1825
Monument Type : Triumphal Arch, Commemorative Monument, Gate
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Constructed 1827-30
Monument End Date : 1830
Monument Start Date : 1827
Monument Type : Triumphal Arch, Commemorative Monument, Gate
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Construction restarted 1832-33
Monument End Date : 1833
Monument Start Date : 1832
Monument Type : Triumphal Arch, Commemorative Monument, Gate
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Gates installed 1837
Monument End Date : 1837
Monument Start Date : 1837
Monument Type : Triumphal Arch, Commemorative Monument, Gate
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Dismantled in 1850
Monument End Date : 1850
Monument Start Date : 1850
Monument Type : Triumphal Arch, Commemorative Monument, Gate
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt in 1851
Monument End Date : 1851
Monument Start Date : 1851
Monument Type : Triumphal Arch, Commemorative Monument, Gate, Police Station
Evidence : Structure, Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : AA98/05915
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 417454
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : AA98/05916
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : DD87/00045
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : CC97/00134
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : CC97/00135
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : CC97/00136
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : DD97/00104
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 28 SE 897
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : MARBLE ARCH PIAZZA
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31