Marble Arch was originally designed as an entrance to Buckingham Palace by the architect John Nash in 1827 but was completed in 1833 by Edward Blore. A well known but untrue story is that it was moved to its present site at Hyde Park because it was too narrow for Queen Victoria’s state coach to pass through, however the coach passed through the arch in 1838 on the way to her coronation without any problems; more likely it was moved as Queen Victoria and her family needed more space and the fourth wing of the Palace was built where it once stood. It moved to its current location in 1850.
There are lots of sculptures decorating the arch but as I was merely passing through on my way to Tyburn Convent the only ones I took a photo of were the below, angels by the sculptor E. J. Baily who was also responsible for the statue of Nelson on Nelson’s Column.
Interestingly Nash was fired from the project by then prime minister the Duke of Wellington for overspending and the architect Edward Blore was hired in his place. Nash wouldn’t help Blore to work out where all the statutes on the arch were supposed to go, still annoyed at being fired, so Blore had only the model of the proposed arch to go on. The idea had been for a military side focusing on Wellington and a naval side focusing on Nelson, but in the end Blore decided less was more so there are far fewer decorative panels than Nash had envisaged. You can find Nash’s model at the Victoria and Albert Museum.