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Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London: designs for chimneypieces for the Governor's house, for the Board of Commissioners, 1776 (2)

1776
Chelsea Hospital was founded by King Charles II for the care of retired soldiers. It was built in 1682-92 on the former site of King James I's Theological College, and to designs by Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723). After Wren, the position of 'Clerk of Works' was occupied by various illustrious architects including John Vardy (1718-65) in 1756-65, Robert Adam in 1765-92, Samuel Wyatt (1737-1807) in 1792-1807, and Sir John Soane (1753-1837) in 1807-35.

During Adam's tenure he was responsible for remodelling the Paymaster General and Commissioner' house at number 1 Whitehall in 1771, and for redecorating the Council Chamber at the hospital in 1776. No drawings for these projects survive, and 1 Whitehall was demolished in 1909. Further to this, Adam undertook redecoration in the Governor's house, located at the south end of the west wing of Chelsea Hospital, and two of Adam’s chimneypiece drawings for this building survive at the Soane Museum.

Chelsea Hospital has been publically funded since 1847, and remains the home of around 300 retired soldiers.

See also: The drawings of John Soane/Public buildings/London: Royal Hospital, Chelsea for the Board of Commissioners, 1807-1835

Literature:
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 36; Survey of London, Volume II: Chelsea, Part IV, 1927, pp. 21-22; C.G.T. Dean, The Royal Hospital Chelsea, 1950, pp. 65-67; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, p. 43; M. Burn, The drawings of John Soane/Public buildings/London: Royal Hospital Chelsea for the Board of Commissioners, 1807-1835 (226); Sir John Soane's Museum online drawings catalogue

Frances Sands, 2013
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