The Royal Hospital Chelsea

Image credit: The Royal Hospital Chelsea

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The Restoration of Charles II in 1660, made the improvement of provision for the welfare of old or disabled soldiers a pressing matter. By 1673 it was already being noted that some soldiers were no longer fit for service. It was common practice for maimed or old soldiers to be kept on regimental rolls, or sent on garrison duty – thus impairing the effectiveness of an army that was under heavy demand. King Charles was determined to make provision for the soldiers on the English establishment and in 1681 he issued a Royal Warrant authorising the building of the Royal Hospital. Sir Christopher Wren, Charles II's Surveyor-General of Works, was commissioned to design and erect the buildings. The chosen site, set adjacent to the River Thames in the pastoral setting of Chelsea contained the uncompleted building of the former 'Chelsey College', a theological college founded by James I in 1610.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea



The Royal Hospital Chelsea


oil on canvas


H 122 x W 213 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from the Hon. F. General Evans, Governor of the Hospital, 1729

Work type



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The Royal Hospital Chelsea

Royal Hospital Road, London, Greater London SW3 4SR England

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