Known as ‘The Quadriga’, this bronze monument atop Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner depicts Nike, goddess of victory, in a four horse chariot. The work of English sculptor Adrian Jones, the quadriga was part of Decimus Burton’s original early 19th century design but it wasn’t until 1911-1912 that this colossal piece – once the largest bronze monument in Europe – was installed, replacing an equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington which was moved to Aldershot (a smaller equestrian statue of the Duke now stands nearby). For more on the arch, see www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/wellington-arch/.
This is the second of our series in which we ask you to identify where in London this picture was taken and what it’s of. If you reckon you know the answer, leave a comment below. We’ll reveal the answer on Monday.
Obviously, this one was too easy – yes, it is the top of Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner. The Decimus Burton-designed arch, which dates from 1826-30 and was initially known as the Green Park Arch, was built to commemorate Britain’s victory over Napoleon.
In 1846, it was adorned with a controversial giant statue of the Duke of Wellington on horseback but in 1883, when the arch had to be moved from its initial position parallel to the Hyde Park Screen to where it now stands to accommodate increased road traffic, the statue was removed to Aldershot (where it still stands) and not replaced.
In 1912, thanks to the support of King Edward VII (initially as Prince of Wales), the space was occupied with Adrian Jones’ sculpture of four horses pulling a chariot (known as a quadriga) driven by a boy with a winged figure representing peace standing behind him. It remains to this day.
Congrats to Hazel Edmunds who was the first to guess it on Exploring London and Sarah Goldsworthy, who was the first on Facebook. Honorable mention to Mike Paterson who also guessed it.
We’ve decided to make this a weekly feature – have a look for the next challenge on Friday afternoon!