Statue of Charles II
ArtistGrinling Gibbons
Completion datec. 1680
SubjectCharles II of England
Dimensions1.55 m × 1.18 m (5.1 ft × 3.9 ft)
Coordinates51°29′14″N 0°09′28″W / 51.4871°N 0.1577°W / 51.4871; -0.1577
Listed Building – Grade I
Official nameStatue of Charles II in centre of middle courtyard in main buildings, Royal Hospital
Designated5 April 1969
Reference no.1226477[1]

The statue of Charles II stands in the Figure, or Middle, Court of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London. The sculptor was Grinling Gibbons, and the statue was executed around 1680–1682. The king founded the Royal Hospital in 1682 as a home for retired army veterans. The statue is a Grade I listed structure.


Charles II founded the Royal Hospital in 1682 to care for "those broken by age or war".[2] The inspiration was the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris, founded by Louis XIV of France.[3] The commission was given to Christopher Wren[2] and construction continued from 1682 to 1691.[3] The statue of Charles was commissioned by Tobias Rustat, a member of the king's court[4] and was designed by Grinling Gibbons[5] in about 1682.[1] Gibbons's fee was £500.[6] The statue originally stood elsewhere and was moved to the Royal Hospital after Charles's death in 1685.[7] Annually, on 29 May, Oak Apple Day, the traditional day for the celebration of the Restoration in 1660, the statue is wreathed with oak leaves.[8]


The statue is of brass and was originally gilded in bronze.[1] It has been re-gilded subsequently[5] to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.[9] It depicts the king in the attire of a Roman general,[5] is 7.6 ft high, and stands on a marble plinth.[4] The statue was designated a Grade I listed structure, the highest grading given to buildings and structures of "exceptional interest", in 1969.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Historic England. "Statue of Charles II in centre of middle courtyard in main buildings, Royal Hospital (1226477)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "The Founding of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea". Royal Hospital Chelsea. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  3. ^ a b Cherry & Pevsner 2002, p. 562.
  4. ^ a b "Figure Court". Royal Hospital Chelsea. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Cherry & Pevsner 2002, p. 565.
  6. ^ Blackwood 1989, p. 29.
  7. ^ "The Royal Hospital: Architectural description". British History Online. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  8. ^ Darke 1991, p. 46.
  9. ^ "Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee". Exploring London. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2018.