Admiralty Arch

Admiralty Arch. Designed by Sir Aston Webb in 1905-7; built 1908-13. [Click on photographs to enlarge them.] According to Bradley and Pevsner, it “goes functionally with the Government buildings of Whitehall, but as a design belongs with Trafalgar Square and the Mall. . . . Its counterparts are the sculptural group [the Victoria Memorial] in front of Buckingham Palace, and the refacing of the palace itself ” (375). Admiralty Arch skillfully combines several functions, serving as both as yet another memorial to Queen Victoria and at the same time as a government office block whose “tapering plan cunningly hides the unavoidable change of axis. Webb's eclecticism comes out most in details, e.g. the capitals with their little masks (carver W.S. Frith)” (375).

Sculpture by Thomas Brock on Admiralty Arch

Left to right: (a) Gunnery. Note how the allegorical figure lovingly cradles a cannon barrel. Unconsciously or not, Brock seems to have adopted the pose of mother and child best known from representations of Mary and the infant Jesus. (b) The end of the building on which Gunnery appears. (c) Heraldic figures representing the Royal Navy, which may have been executed by Frith.

Left to right: (a) Navigation. N (b) The end of the building on which Navigation appears. (c) Detail showing Navigation holding a sextant.

Photographs and caption by Robert Freidus. Formatting and perspective correction by George P. Landow. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Bradley, Simon, and Nikolaus Pevsner. London 6: Westminster. “The Buildings of England.” New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2003.

Last modified 18 January 2008