Sir John Soane's Museum
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, Historic house or home
Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm. Last entry 4:30pm.
Closed on Sundays, Mondays and Bank Holidays.
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 Visitor Services on +44 (0)20 7440 4274 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.
Weapons and War
Key artists and exhibits
- Designated Collection
Building a Dialogue: The Architect and the Client
- 17 February — 9 May 2015 *on now
Discover the role of the client in the intrinsic dynamics of architectural commissions in Building a Dialogue: The Architect and the Client.
Exploring the delicate, complex and sometimes difficult relationship between clients and architects, the exhibition charts the development of the architectural profession from Elizabethan to Victorian times. With case studies including Soane’s Dulwich Picture Gallery and Holy Trinity Church and Wren’s Royal Naval College, see rare pieces from the Museum’s collection including never before seen drawings, private and public documents, letters, correspondence, and models.
Analysing projects by Sir John Soane, as well as the work and influence of other illustrious British architects Sir Christopher Wren, William Chambers, Robert Adam and his brother James Adam, it is one of the most comprehensive surveys of the architecture profession ever displayed at Sir John Soane’s Museum.
Sir John Soane's Museum
13 Lincoln's Inn Fields
Head of Visitor Services
020 7405 2107