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Chelsea College & Ranelagh house

Chelsea College & Ranelagh house

Medium: Aquatint

Date: 1800

Shelfmark: Ktop XXVIII

Item number: 4m

Genre: Topographical Print

To the right is Chelsea Hospital, built by Christopher Wren during 1682-1691. It was founded by Charles II to house 'retired' or injured soldiers, based on a similar institution ' Hotel des Invalides' in Paris. Prior to the hospital, a College of Theology founded by James I, could be found on the site. To the left, partly hidden by trees is a large ornamental rococo style rotunda, built as an attraction of Ranelagh Pleasure Gardens. The gardens were formerly the estate of Lord Ranelagh, Paymaster General to the Forces, who in 1690 had built a house here. The pleasure gardens were opened here in 1742 and this rotunda, which was built by William Jones, surveyor to the East India Company, was the centrepiece. It was 150 ft in diameter and was used for music, eating, smoking and drinking. It was demolished in 1805.

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