Figure Court is the oldest part of the Royal Hospital and was started by Wren in 1682. It is enclosed by buildings on its northern, eastern and western sides but its southern end lies open to the grounds and the river. The northern range contains the Chapel and the Great Hall, with an Octagon vestibule between them. The colonnade which extends over the whole length of the range on its inner side is surmounted by a cornice bearing a Latin inscription said to have been composed by Wren himself.
The colonnade is all Wren's original work with the benches and panelling dating back to 1688. The double columns, joined at the base, were not used by Wren elsewhere.The Doric columns of the main portico, 32' high, support the Royal Hospital's water cistern which was originally filled from the River Thames.
The 7'6" statue of Charles II, from which the Court takes its name, is the work of Grinling Gibbons. It shows the king as a Roman general, holding a baton as a sign of his Imperial authority. He does not have the customary wig and moustache and with its bare arms and legs, must have been considered daring. It was presented to the King by Tobias Rustat, a long-time retainer, in 1682 and was moved to the Royal Hospital after the King died in 1685. It was placed in its current position around the time the first pensioners were admitted. Originally gilded it was bronzed in 1782 but was been re-gilded in 2002 for the Queen's Golden Jubilee.
The South Terrace overlooks the South Grounds. These were originally laid out as water gardens and meadows. Flooding, and the need to construct the Chelsea Embankment, led to their levelling in 1850. The retaining wall was demolished and much of the original terrace removed but the terminal walls and gateways, with their wrought-iron gates by Jean Tijou, have been preserved.