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Sir John Soane’s Museum

Sir John Soane’s Museum (52)

Situated at number 13 Lincoln Inn Fields, the house-museum of John Soane has been open to the public since the early 19th century. The prestigious architect, author of projects as well known as the Bank of England, bought, thanks to an inheritance, numbers 12, 13 and 14 of this street, and between 1792 and 1824 reformed them completely.

When in 1806 he was appointed professor of architecture at the Royal Academy, Soane began to redistribute and organise his extensive collection of peculiar objects and decided to open his home to his students so that their training could be complemented through these items.

And that is why today the walls and shelves of the different floors of the house are packed with all kinds of objects, from Chinese and Egyptian antiques to plaster moulds, furniture, sculptures and drawings from all the era imaginable.

Among the collection feature several series of paintings by Hogarth, three masterpieces by Canaletto, sketches drawn by Giovanni Batista Piranesi and the extremely valuable alabaster sarcophagus of the Egyptian Pharaoh Seti I, which is in the basement.

In 1833, Soane entered into negotiations with Parliament so that, on his death, the house would be conserved intact for the enjoyment and extension of knowledge for lovers of architecture, painting and sculpture. 

On his death, in 1837, a board of directors was created to respect his last wish. From that time on, despite the rigour with which the Sir John Soane’s Museum has been run, occasionally some changes are made in the arrangement of the different collections. In recent years, careful restoration work has re-established the original appearance of the house-museum.

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