Book Review: Sir John Soane’s Museum London

The Sir John Soane Museum is home to one of the most varied architectural collections ever assembled by one person. An inventive architect, Sir John Soane’s works included remodeling the Bank of England, several homes and the Dulwich College Picture Gallery. Although Soane’s work fell out of favor, his home-museum all but abandoned, demolitions at the Bank of England in 1925 refocused public attention and his many contributions began to be appreciated. Today, the house-museum is host to over 93,000 visitors a year, its popularity on the verge of endangering the more fragile pieces of the collection.

Knox, Director of Sir John Soane’s Museum in London has written the first definitive work documenting the collection and its history since Soane’s self-published catalog produced in 1835. Moore’s warm, evocative photography and several period watercolors make this stunning publication the next best thing to being able to wander throughout the museum in person. While the floor to ceiling scale of Soane’s meticulously arranged collection is difficult to bring to life in a photo, Moore’s work comes close. Certainly, the depth and scope of juxtaposed busts, casts, urns, and glass comes through, as does the exquisite detail in the bottom of an Egyptian sarcophagus.

Complete with blueprints, this is a celebration Soane’s distinctive style and taste that not only incorporated elements like natural light and domes but also embraced them with passion.

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