Sources for Wellington Arch

The following lists provide a summary of the main sources for our knowledge and understanding of Wellington Arch.

Adrian Jones and his assistants - Jones and two assistants are sat inside one side of the casting moulds of a Quadriga horse, taking tea at a low table. The sculpture was to later be erected onto Wellington Arch.
Adrian Jones (right) and his assistants taking tea inside the plaster mould for one of the horses of the quadriga, from Jones’s Memoirs of a Soldier Artist (1933) © Historic England (NMR AL2385/022/02)

Primary Sources, Drawings and Historic Views

The National Archives

The Wellington Arch was built by the Office of Woods and Forests, and its reconstruction in the 1880s was managed by the Office of Works, both agencies of the Crown. The main archival evidence for its history is therefore in the ‘Work’ files of the National Archives at Kew. Other significant primary documents survive in other archives.

Files relating to construction and later history:

  • WORK 16/316 [roads, Constitution Hill, 1887–1909]
  • WORK 16/340 [Royal Parks, police stations, 1883–1904]
  • WORK 16/374 [Hyde Park Corner improvements, 1882–9]
  • WORK 20 [sub-series: Constitution Hill and Constitution Arch or Wellington Arch]
  • WORK 20/4/1 [construction of the Green Park Arch]
  • WORK 20/4/2 [Green Park Arch, Wellington Memorial, 1828–51]
  • WORK 20/4/3 [Constitution Arch and Wellington statue, 1882–5]
  • WORK 20/52 [Wellington Arch, Quadriga sculpture, 1890–1913]
  • WORK 20/78 [statues and memorials, Wellington Arch, 1901–7]
  • WORK 20/122 [Wellington Arch, Quadriga sculpture, 1913–39]
  • WORK 20/234 [statues and memorials, Wellington Arch, 1937–55]
  • WORK 20/265 [statues and memorials, Wellington Arch, 1946–63]
  • WORK 35/203 [Wellington Arch, new steel frame, 1911]
  • WORK 35/273–5 [Wellington Arch and Constitution Hill gates, 1906]
  • WORK 35/281 [relandscaping, Constitution Hill, 1907]

Original designs for Burton’s first scheme for the ‘Green Park Arch’, 1825:

  • WORK 35/3–8, 12–14

Original designs for Burton’s executed scheme for the ‘Green Park Arch’, 1828–3:

  • WORK 35/9–11, 15–32

Designs relating to later works to the Arch:

  • WORK 32/19–20 [plans, alterations at Hyde Park Corner, 1826]
  • WORK 32/135 [plan, Hyde Park Corner, 1871]
  • WORK 32/141 [new gates and piers, Wellington Arch, 1907]
  • WORK 32/416–17 [proposed works at Hyde Park Corner, 1882]
  • WORK 32/454–5 [proposed works at Hyde Park Corner, 1882]
  • WORK 35/33–6 [Wellington Arch, proposed alterations, 1846]
  • WORK 35/181–90 [survey drawings of the arch before dismantling, 1882]
  • WORK 35/191 [proposal for strengthening the arch, 1846]
  • WORK 35/192 [proposal for strengthening the arch, 1846]
  • WORK 35/195–6 [Wellington Arch, plans for new gates, 1906]
  • WORK 35/198–202 [Wellington Arch, new beams in roof, 1911]
  • WORK 35/205 [Wellington Arch, elevation with quadriga, 1911]
  • WORK 35/208 [view of arch in new position, 1911]
  • WORK 35/272–80 [Constitution Hill, new gates, c 1907]
  • WORK 36/90 [Wellington arch decorated with flags etc, 1919]

Files relating to the Metropolitan Police’s occupation of the Arch:

  • WORK 16/1731 [Wellington Arch police station, 1919–38]
  • MEPO 2/2875 [Wellington Arch, police station, 1932–41]
  • MEPO 2/3237 [Wellington Arch, opening of gates, 1938]
  • MEPO 2/3501 [Wellington Arch: air raid siren, 1939]
  • MEPO 2/7583 [Wellington Arch, police station, records, 1936–63]
  • MEPO 5/505–6 [police stations around Hyde Park, 1898–1959]
  • MEPO 9/179 [section house, Wellington Arch, 1896]
  • MEPO 14/44 [Wellington Arch, police station, photographs]

British Library

  • Department of Maps, K.Top, XVII, 26A–C [three designs by Robert Adam for a gate and screens at Hyde Park Corner; one of Adam's designs can be viewed online]
  • Crace Collection, 10/39–65 [includes 18th-century views of Hyde Park Corner; 19th-century views of the arch and screen; woodcuts of the Wellington statue being positioned, 1846]

British Museum 

  • Department of Prints and Drawings, 1198/DE15/129 and 198/DE17/132 [design by Jeffry Wyatt (later Wyatville) for a gate and screens at Hyde Park Corner]

Royal Institute of British Architects Library Drawings Collection

The RIBA Drawings Collection has an important work of art relating to the Wellington Arch: Decimus Burton’s beautiful watercolour perspective showing his original design for the arch and screen, dating from c 1825 (RIBA SA 65/1). Burton bequeathed the painting to the RIBA on his death in 1881, together with a plaster model representing his original design for the arch. The model was later placed on loan at University College with other objects from the RIBA’s collection, but it was one of several objects destroyed by bombing during the Second World War; no photograph of it is known to exist.

There is also another view of the arch as originally designed, catalogued as by Burton (SC5/13 ).   

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Sir John Soane’s Museum has numerous designs by Robert Adam and by Soane himself of grand schemes for triumphal gateways at Hyde Park Corner:

  • Robert Adam: Designs for gateways and park screens at Hyde Park Corner, 1778, vol 28, 4–9; vol 51, 77–82.
  • Soane Museum, paintings, 18/2/3 and 4 [see Brindle and Robinson 2001, p 6]    

Victoria & Albert Museum

  • Department of Prints & Drawings 3327 [two drawings by Robert Adam for a gateway and screens at Hyde Park Corner, 1778]
  • Department of Prints & Drawings, E2334–1910 A149a, D1299–1907 [Decimus Burton’s watercolour elevations of his first and second designs for the ‘Green Park Arch’ and his design for the Hyde Park Screen, 1825; see Brindle and Robinson 2001, p 7]    

Elmbridge Museum, Weybridge

Elmbridge Museum has a small collection of photographs and objects relating to the firm of AB Burton & Company of the Thames Ditton Statue Foundry, who made the Wellington Arch quadriga sculpture in 1910–11. The only items relating to the Quadriga are two photographs, one showing the whole sculpture trial-assembled at the foundry late in 1911 with the firm’s staff assembled in front of it (see Brindle and Robinson 2001, p 21), and another showing wagons carrying sections of the sculpture being transported to Hyde Park Corner towards the end of the year. 

Historic England Archive

Items in the Historic England Archive at Swindon relating to Wellington Arch include:

  • an album of photographs taken for Adrian Jones, showing the creation of the plaster models for the Quadriga sculpture in his Chelsea studio about 1908–10. Several of the photographs were later published by Jones in his autobiography, Memoirs of a Soldier Artist (London, 1933) [AL 2385 and ADJ01]
  • photos of the arch from the late 19th/early 20th century showing it without a statue [DD87/00047)
  • photos taken during the Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee parade, 1897 (CC97/01152–63 and DD97/00474–9)]
  • a folder containing 260 drawings from the 1820s to 2001, including drawings from 1825 and 1826 depicting the arch in its original location and including several copies of drawings by Decimus Burton; drawings from the 1880s concerning the removal of the arch to its current location; drawings from the 1910s showing works on the quadriga; and plans dated 1959–62 of works including the ventilation shaft, floodlighting and reinforcements [PF/WLA].

More details of these and many other items can be found in the online catalogue. Some material is not yet listed online, including a large collection of aerial photography; for a full search, please contact the search team.

Copies of images and documents can be ordered through the website or by contacting the archive. For details of current charges for these services see the archive’s price list.

Material Sources

The great equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington that was moved to Aldershot in 1885 still stands behind the Royal Garrison Church of All Saints.

A fragment of a capital is displayed inside the arch.

Secondary Literature

Sources marked * represent key works in which our understanding was significantly altered, summaries showing the state of knowledge and theories at particular dates, or works detailing recent research. 

Published Works

Arnold, D, ‘The arch at Constitution Hill’, Apollo (September 1993), 129–33

Blackwood, J, London’s Immortals (London, 1989)

Bowdler, RH and Brindle, S, Wellington Arch, Marble Arch and Six Great War Memorials (English Heritage guidebook, London, 2015) (buy the guidebook)

*Brindle, S, ‘The Wellington Arch and the western entrance to London’, Georgian Group Journal, 11 (2001), 47–92

Brindle, S, ‘Adrian Jones and the Wellington Arch quadriga’, Sculpture Journal, 6 (2001), 61–74

*Brindle, S and Robinson, D, The Wellington Arch and the Marble Arch (English Heritage guidebook, London, 2001)

Colvin, HM, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600–1840, 3rd edn (London and New Haven, 1995)

Crook, J Mordaunt and Port, M (eds), The History of the King’s Works, vol 6, 1782–1851 (London, 1973)

Darracott, JC, ‘The Wellington statue’, Country Life, 115 (13 May 1954), 1504–5

Glass, A, ‘The conservation and beneficial use of the Wellington Arch, London’, Association for Studies in the Conservation of Historic Buildings Transactions, 24 (2002), 22–37

Gunnis, R, Dictionary of British Sculptors (London, 1953), 446–8

James, D and Stevens, T, The Thames Ditton Statue Foundry: the story of the foundry and the preservation of its gantry crane (Surrey Industrial History Group, Guildford, 1994)

Jones, A, Memoirs of a Soldier Artist (London, 1933)

Physick, J, ‘The banishment of the bronze duke’, Country Life, 140 (27 October 1966), 1,076–7

*Physick, J, The Wellington Monument (London, 1970)

Port, M, Imperial London (London and New Haven, 1995)

Port, M, ‘Hyde Park Corner: resolving a nineteenth century traffic block’, London Topographical Record, 28 (2001)

Saint, A, ‘The Marble Arch’, Georgian Group Journal, 7 (1997), 75–93

Unpublished Reports

Brindle, S, ‘The Wellington Arch: A Conservation Statement’, unpublished report (English Heritage, undated)

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