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James Henry Greathead

Sir John Soane's Museum by Sir John Soane. Rebuilt 1792-1823. 12-14 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London. [Click on pictures below for larger images.]

Sir John Soane first moved into and rebuilt no. 12, then no. 13 and finally, after his wife's death, no. 14, unifying them by a distinctive frontage incorporating Coade Stone caryatids. The first house was for his family home, the second was for his growing collection of artefacts, and the third was rented out, although he used the stable-yard behind it to extend his display space. The Museum was opened to the public unless the weather was "wet or dirty" with the intention of educating and inspiring "Amateurs and Students in Painting, Architecture and Sculpture" (qtd. in Sir John Soane's Museum). Left to the nation for the same purpose, it continues to delight visitors with its domestic interiors (which make an ingenious use of concealed skylights, mirrors, and colour, for instance) and its heterogeneous collection of wonderful treasures, from his prized Egyptian sarcophagus to the originals of Hogarth's The Rake's Progress and The Election.


Sir John Soane's Museum: A Short Description. Available at the museum.

Weinreb, Ben, et al. The London Encyclopaedia. 3rd ed. London: Macmillan, 2008.

Last modified 28 January 2011