John Soane: An Accidental Romantic

Sir John Soane was born the son of a bricklayer in Goring-on-Thames in 1753, and went on to become one of the most influential and successful architects of the Neoclassical movement. He designed, among many other buildings, the Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Bank of England, and his mausoleum inspired Gilbert Scott’s iconic red telephone kiosk. He was also a passionate collector, and his success allowed him to amass thousands of drawings and sculptures, now displayed at his former house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields and arranged much as they were when he died in 1837. Gillian Darley’s meticulous biography of this self-made, famously irascible genius tells the tangled story of his life and work, demonstrating along the way how his art collection fed into his designs, and vice versa.

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