July 20, 2012
The latest in the series in which we ask you to identify where in London this picture was taken and what it’s of. If you think you can identify this picture, leave a comment below. We’ll reveal the answer early next week. Good luck!
No-one managed it this time. This gilded bronze statue depicts King Charles II dressed as a Roman general and is located in the Figure Court of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. The king founded the hospital in 1682 to provide a home for retired soldiers (the grand buildings you see are the work of Sir Christopher Wren – see our earlier entry here for more). The 7’6” tall statue, which was re-gilded to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, was presented to the king in 1682 and moved to the hospital after his death in 1685. Although generally attributed to Grinling Gibbons, according to Walking London’s Statues and Monuments, it’s probably actually the work of Arnold Quellin, who worked in Gibbons’ studio. The statue is covered in oak branches on a date around 29th May each year – on a day known as Founders Day or Oak Apple Day – in commemoration of the legendary escape of the future king (by concealing himself in an oak tree) after the Battle of Worcester in 1651, the last battle of the English Civil War. For more on the hospital see www.chelsea-pensioners.co.uk.