Opening Up the Soane Museum
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Whenever I’m asked to name my favourite London museums, Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields is always the first place I mention. It is a museum that I know holds a special importance for many people with a love of art, architecture or collecting.
The former home of Sir John Soane, the renowned 19th century collector and architect of The Bank of England, was left to the nation by with the stipulation that the house and its extraordinary contents be preserved as a museum. A number of changes were made to both the layout and the organisation of the house over the years, most especially in the early decades of the house’s new role as a museum. But now, after a 7-year-long restoration project, Number 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields has been returned to exactly how the house was in the days of its illustrious owner 180 years ago.
The Picture Room through the colonnade to Apollo
Parts of the house, like the catacombs and ante room, have been reopened after careful and extensive restoration and other parts, like the basement kitchens, are being opened for the first time having never been seen before by the public. The famous Canaletto painting has been returned to its original place in the Picture Room from where it had been moved by an early museum curator. The vacancy left in the room where the Canaletto was has allowed the creation of a new exhibition space, The Foyle Space. The results of the Opening Up the Soane project are stunning, the house has simply never looked better.
And, as I never get tired of telling anyone who will stay still long enough to listen, the Soane Museum has the best gallery guides in London. They have to be the most exceptionally well-informed, knowledgeable and charming guides in the business, without exception all are brimming over with passion for the history of this extraordinary London museum and after a visit and a chat with them, you will be too. Guaranteed.
Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm
Closed Sundays, Mondays & Bank Holidays
First Tuesday of the Month Evening Opening
On the first Tuesday of every month the Soane Museum opens from 6pm – 9pm by candlelight
All photographs ©The London Art File