The house, museum and library of Sir John Soane have been a public museum since 1837 and therefore one of the oldest public museums in the world and believed the oldest historic museum anywhere.
The Soane name is recognized internationally as symbolizing quality, innovation and excellence in architecture, design, and art.
The collections are world class and inseparable from the architecture of the museum.
In 2000, the museum was recognized by the UK Government as being the “supreme supervising example of a house museum collection in the world.”
The library contains one of the UK/s most important architectural drawings collections including works by Christopher Wren, William Chambers, George Dance, and 9,000 works by Robert and James Adam.
In 2005/6 the museum undertook the first phase of a major multi-million dollar restoration program including the complete restoration of the recently acquired Soane house next door
The museum has an ambitious 100,000 visitors each year of which approximately 25,000 are from the US showcase the work of Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind.
The most famous spaces in the house are those at the rear of the Museum – the Dome Area, Colonnade and Museum Corridor. These are mostly toplit and provide some idea in miniature form of the ingenious lighting contrived by Soane for the toplit banking halls at the Bank of England. The ingeniously designed Picture Gallery has walls composed of large 'moveable planes’ that allow it to house three times as many items as a space of this size could normally accommodate.
The more domestic rooms of No. 13 are at the front of the house, many of them highly unusual, but often in subtle ways. The domed ceiling of the Breakfast Room, inset with convex mirrors, has influenced architects from around the world. The Library-Dining Room reflects the influence of Etruscan tombs and perhaps even gothic design in its repertoire of small pendants like those in fan vaulting. The Study contains a collection of Roman architectural fragments and the two external courtyards, the Monument Court and Monk's Yard contain an array of architectural fragments, Classical in the Monument Court with its central column or 'pasticcio' representing Architecture and Gothic in the Monk's Yard, filled with medieval stonework from the Palace of Westminster.
Sir John Soane's Museum was formerly the home of the neo-classical architect Sir John Soane. It holds many drawings and models of Soane's projects and the collections of paintings, drawings and antiquities that he assembled. The museum is in the Holborn area of central London, adjacent to Lincoln's Inn Fields. It is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
John Soane was a distinguished architect (1753 - 1837) who originally designed this magnificent house, which today exhibits the antiquities and art he collected throughout his life. The museum came into existence during his own life time by