Sir John Soane's Experience.
I love a museum, me, and Sir John Soane’s Museum in London is one of my favourites. I went the other day for the second time, and I thought I’d write a bit about it, as many people don’t know it exists. Please forgive the images, they don’t allow photography inside, so these are taken from the guide, but I wanted to give you at least some visuals so you can see a glimpse of what it’s like.
Sir John Soane (1753-1837) was an architect who bought 3 terraced houses in Lincoln’s Inn Fields which he demolished and rebuilt the spaces for living, working and to house his collection of art, sculptures, artifacts and architectural examples. Before he died, Soane passed an Act of Parliament leaving his home to the nation. The interiors and collections are still displayed as they were when he died.
The architecture is stunning and the artwork inside amazing. There are paintings by Canaletto and Hogarth, among others, in The Picture Room hinged on movable panels. His collection of architectural stonework and sculptures/artifacts at the back of the house is vast and almost too much to take in (top picture). I may have floated elegantly down that staircase, with my imaginary skirts, pretending I was on my way to take tea in the South Drawing Room. Who wouldn’t, right?
Anyway, it’s open Wednesday to Sunday 10 - 5 and it’s free to get in. There is no café in the building, but just opposite in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, there is a lovely café which does a good range of food etc including a wood oven for fresh pizza. They offer a 15% discount if you either show them your Soane’s Museum guide book, or you can download a coupon from the museum website.
The museum staff are all very friendly and knowledgable. They will happily tell you stories about the Soanes and the house ( it wasn’t all happy families), which helps to bring the whole thing to life. There is so much there, that I would have liked to have been able to sit & draw, like his students did, but there is just no space in the narrow walk ways. Perhaps I’ll have to get quicker at sketching detail!
The upper floor of bedrooms & private rooms can only be seen by booking in for a tour at 1.15pm or 2pm which, unfortunately I didn’t have time to hang around for. That’s a lovely excuse to go back again though, with my imaginary skirts, to swan around Mrs Soane’s Morning Room.
Let me know if you go, and tell me what you think.