Sir John Soane's Museum
The extraordinary former home, and longstanding artistic project, of one of Britain's most inventive architects.
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- Guided Tours
- Gift shop
- Temporary exhibitions
Most famous for designing the Bank of England (1807) and Dulwich Picture Gallery (1817), Sir John Soane (1753-1837) began constructing his home in 1792. Over the next three decades, he bought, knocked down, and reorganised three successive houses in Lincoln's Inn Fields, central London, to create his combined home and office, with a space for his collection, which included William Hogarth's two painting series, A Rake's Progress (1732-3) and Humours of an Election (1755), and the gigantic sarcophagus of the Egyptian King Seti I, along with antique and contemporary architectural fragments, busts, bronzes and plaster casts.
Soane had intended part of his house to be opened as a museum arranging his architectural models, casts and drawings into rational categories, but soon abandoned this idea as impractical, and focused instead on arranging and re-arranging the collection in provocative ways, creating a series of rooms that function as artworks in their own right. Among the museum's most distinctive features is its set of panels in the Picture Room, which can be opened out, allowing more paintings to fill the small space, and its Dome and Colonnade, which provide examples of Soane's innovative use of coloured glass and mirrors to create striking lighting effects.