Sir John Soane's Museum
Sir John Soane's Museum
13 Lincoln's Inn Fields
House Manager and Visitor Services
020 7405 2107
020 7831 3957
The architect Sir John Soane's house, museum and library at No. 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields has been a public museum since the early 19th century.
Soane designed this house to live in, but also as a setting for his antiquities and his works of art. On his appointment as Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy in 1806, Soane began to arrange his books, casts and models in order that the students might have the benefit of easy access to them and proposed opening his house for the use of the Royal Academy students the day before and the day after each of his lectures.
After the death of his wife (1815), he lived here 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. By 1827, when John Britton published the first description of the Museum, Soane's collection was being referred to as an 'Academy of Architecture'.
In 1833 Soane negotiated an Act of Parliament to settle and preserve the house and collection for the benefit of 'amateurs and students' in architecture, painting and sculpture. On his death in 1837 the Act came into force, vesting the Museum in a board of Trustees who were to continue to uphold Soane's own aims and objectives. A crucial part of their brief was to maintain the fabric of the Museum, keeping it 'as nearly as circumstances will admit in the state' in which it was left at the time of Soane's death in 1837 and to allow free access for students and the public to 'consult, inspect and benefit' from the collections. Since 1837, each successive Curator (since 2005 'Director') has sought to preserve and maintain Soane's arrangements.
The entire collection of this museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.
Museum, Library, Archive
Groups cannot book for Sat, or during term time on Wed am/pm or Thurs am.
1st Tues of every month 18.00-21.00
Entry is first come first served, we do not take bookings for the evening opening.
Closed: Every Sun, Mon, Good Fri & Christmas Period.
Admission is free. We gratefully accept voluntary donations. For groups of 6 people or more we suggest around £50.
Groups of 6 or more people must book in advance due to limited space. To book go to www.soane.org, click 'your visit', then click 'groups'.
Our library is open by appointment. Contact +44 (0)20 7440 4251 email@example.com.
The Museum has limited disabled access. Wheelchair users should telephone in advance for advice and will need to manage 6 steps up into the Museum and transfer to our own narrow skychairs. Please contact Colin Wood on +44 (0)20 7440 4260 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The entire collection of Sir John Soane's is a Designated Collection of national importance.
The house, museum and library of the celebrated architect Sir John Soane (1753-1837) at No. 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields in London has been a public museum since the early 19th century. Soane acquired, demolished and rebuilt three houses in Lincoln's Inn Fields between 1792 and 1837 to house his extensive collections.
These include antiquities, paintings (by Canaletto, Hogarth, Turner and many early 19th century artists), furniture, architectural fragments, casts, architectural drawings, models and much else, arranged in an 'inspirational' way in Soane's picturesque and 'poetic' interiors. All the collections of the Museum are designated as, together with the house itself, they constitute a unique surviving example of an early private house museum.
Key artists and exhibits
- Designated Collection
Diverse Maniere: Piranesi, Fantasy and Excess
- 7 March — 31 May 2014 *on now
This spring, Sir John Soane’s Museum is staging the second of two exhibitions looking at the relationship between Sir John Soane and the great Italian printmaker, antiquarian and architect Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-78).
Taking two of Piranesi’s influential publications as starting points – his 1769 Diverse Maniere d’Adornare i Cammini… and Vasi, Candelabri, Cippi, Sarcofagi… of 1778 – the exhibition will display large-scale 3D prints, directly producing some of the extraordinary designs that Piranesi visualised in these publications, but never actually realised.
Working with the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, and the renowned design studio Factum Arte, Madrid, the exhibition will showcase a collection of ‘sculptures’, realised using state-of-the-art 3D modelling and printing technologies to turn Piranesi’s work into physical forms.
The bronze tripods, ‘porphyry’ altars, gilt chairs, shell-shaped silver coffee pots and extravagant candelabra are all stunning examples of Piranesi’s interpretation of classical antiquity. These will be installed within the historic interiors of Sir John Soane’s Museum, where the display will resonate with Soane’s own ‘Piranesian’ arrangements of objects. In addition, the Soane Gallery will display seldom seen drawings from the Soane Office, which illustrate how Soane looked to Piranesi for inspiration, along with volumes of Piranesi prints from Soane’s Library (and from other collections), which illustrate the designs upon which Factum Arte have based their creations.
Peace Breaks Out! London and Paris in the Summer of 1814
- 20 June — 13 September 2014
In the centenary year of the start of the First World War, Sir John Soane’s Museum presents Peace Breaks Out! (20 June – 13 September) an exhibition focusing on the summer of 1814, when Europe celebrated peace after the Treaty of Paris following the fall of Napoleon.
Displaying over 100 rare pieces from the museum and private collections, the exhibition will explore this pivotal moment in the history of Europe, through the eyes of its contemporaries. Pieces on show include celebratory paintings and prints created for the festivities held in London and across the United Kingdom to mark the Treaty; drawings of Paris demonstrating the architectural changes that took place under Napoleon’s government; Sir John Soane’s collection of Napoleonica – objects belonging to Napoleon and his closest collaborators; and a quirky, satirical depiction of Englishmen visiting Paris, as seen by the French.
- Any age
Godolphin Bare Foot Festival
- 17 August 2014 10am-4pm
Enjoy the multi-textured trail and have a go at slack-lining, Tai Chi and Yoga. Children will love the barefoot arts and crafts and there'll be barefoot professionals providing treats for grown-up feet too.
- Any age