About the Museum

Sir John Soane, R.A., architect, was born in 1753, the son of a bricklayer, and died after a long and distinguished career, in 1837.

Soane designed his house to live in, but also as a setting for his antiquities and his works of art. After the death of his wife (1815), he lived alone, constantly adding to and rearranging his collections. Having been deeply disappointed by the conduct of his two sons, one of whom survived him, he determined to establish the house as a museum to which ‘amateurs and students’ should have access.

The Museum is a building of outstanding originality, with its picturesque vistas and inventive handling of light and space. He filled it with a remarkable collection of art, sculpture, books, drawings and models. The collection includes paintings by Hogarth, Canaletto, Turner and Reynolds; antique sculpture; plaster casts; architectural models and an Egyptian sarcophagus. The objects are arranged in a labyrinth of top-lit spaces, decorated with hundreds of mirrors.

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