Sir John Soane’s Museum

    Charlotte Bronte at the Soane, london
    Charlotte Bronte at the Soane Credit: Sir John Soane’s Museum/Gareth Gardner

    A cabinet of curios in the Bank of England architect’s former home

    Ever the perfectionist, the architect John Soane demolished and rebuilt houses on Lincoln’s Inn Fields three times before he finally settled upon the structure that now houses his namesake museum.

    Unlike many single-person museums, this particular collection was established during Soane’s lifetime. He was locked in a feud with his son and heir, George, to the extent that he successfully lobbied Parliament to take out an act specifying the conditions of upkeep that are enforced today.

    Yet while this museum was borne of necessity, it was also developed as a labour of love. Soane designed the Bank of England and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery, so he had a keen eye for how to convey a sense of power with style. His former home now acts as a cabinet of curios for his various collections, from his own drawings to a rare Egyptian sarcophagus.


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