sir john soanes museum london feature image

Spectacular Sir John Soane’s Museum London

I visited Sir John Soane’s Museum recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. The Museum is at 12, 13 and 14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields WC2. Soane bought all three properties, demolished them and rebuilt them to become his home, a museum and a library. He was a celebrated 19th-century architect who collected works of art, antiquities, sculptures, and furniture alongside architectural models and drawings. In 1833 Soane left his home to the nation via a private Act of Parliament stating that it should all be kept as it was at his death (1753-1837). That’s why there is little signage, labels, or descriptions of the museum treasures, which I liked because it gives your imagination a sense of freedom. If you’re looking for free museums in London or the best things to do in Holborn, you’ll enjoy the Sir John Soane’s Museum. It’s quirky, eccentric, and spectacular.

sir john soanes museum london artefact

Sir John Soane’s Museum London Highlights

Soane’s father was a bricklayer hence his interest in architecture. At the age of 15, Soane won the Gold Medal for Architecture as a student at The Royal Academy. The prize was a Grand Tour including Italy and Malta. On his return to London, Soane set up his architectural practice and became known for neoclassical style. Some of his famous buildings include The Bank of England and The Dulwich Picture Gallery. He was a professor of architecture at the Royal Academy. What you see inside the Museum reflects Soane’s life and his interests.

sir john soanes museum london dining room library

There is a one-way walking system in place due to covid, but it’s good because it means that you get to see everything. Some of the rooms were living quarters like the library-dining room, breakfast room, and kitchens, giving you a sense of how a wealthy family would live. The library and dining room have Pompeian red walls, an oil painting of Sir Thomas Lawrence (President of the Royal Academy) with an ornate gold colour frame, mahogany furniture and decorative accessories in the form of busts large vases. The bookshelves are filled with hardback books.

sir john soanes museum london breakfast room dome ceiling

In the Breakfast Room, you will find architectural effects and pictures of engravings showing Roman wall paintings. You’ll see portraits of Emperor Napoleon and a stunning dome ceiling. The Lobby to the Breakfast Room crams in around 100 works of art which give you a taste of what’s to come before you reach The Dome Area.

sir john soanes museum london the dome room

The Dome Area is mesmerising, it has a large dome ceiling, and the area is filled to the gills with classical fragments, cinerary vases and casts. The full-size cast copy of Apollo Belvedere watches over the collection, and the original Roman statue sits in the Vatican Museum.

sir john soanes museum london cyrpt and sepulchral chamber

Look over the Area void to see the Crypt and Sepulchral Chamber below. In this room are Egyptian antiques, including the sarcophagus of King Seti I and the wooden mummy case.

sir john soanes museum london picture room

The Picture Room is small yet impressive. Over the fireplace is the view of the Riva Degli Schiavoni painted in 1735. Look closer at the walls, and you will notice that behind the paintings are hinged wooden doors that open to reveal more pictures.

sir john soanes museum london chinese dragons

These are a few of the highlights that you will see on your tour. I won’t mention them all because I want you to enjoy your discoveries. It’s an extraordinary museum and worth making an effort to visit if you live in London or are on holiday. Everything is fantastic, even the hallways! You’ll want to go back again for another visit because there is so much to take in that it’s mind-boggling!

Sir John Soane’s Museum London Information

sir john soanes museum london exterior

Visit The Sir John Soane’s Museum and download the Bloomberg Connects app. Before you visit, please check the opening times and ticket booking details online. It is free to enter, and you can take photographs without flash.

sir john soanes museum london gift shop

Check out the gift shop, which has some interesting books and lovely ethically sourced gifts made by artisans. Items to buy include scarves, decorative accessories, jewellery and more.

lincolns inn fields holborn

The address is 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fileds, London WC2A 3BP, five minute’s walk from Holborn Station. Lincoln’s Inn Fields is opposite, so you can sit down on a bench and sip a cup of takeaway coffee before entering the Museum. Enjoy your visit, and you can thank me later!

Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London.