Alex has been asking me to visit Sir John Soane’s museum together many times. As usual, I showed very little interest at the mention of the word “museum”. But with my newly found interest at that time to know more about classical architecture, I agreed and we made the visit on a chilly Saturday in March.
When we arrived, there was already a long queue in front of the entrance. Alex has told me a queue was likely, but I did not expect this less popular museum would attract so many visitors. Part of the reason was that it was a small building, and a limited number of people can comfortably be inside at the same time. We queued for approximately 45 minutes before we managed to enter the museum.
Sir John Soane was a famous English architect in the 18th century as well as a collector of Classical art. The museum was originally his house and it now features a lot of his drawings and his personal art collection. No pictures was allowed but I bought his book from Amazon to gain a more in-depth understanding of the enigmatic architect.
The space that I loved the most was the art gallery as shown in the photos above! The paintings were hung on the movable panels that could be rearranged to show different pieces. I was very much inspired to have a similar one in my future house. Having been researching Canaletto for a project at work, I was very excited to spot a few of his masterpieces in this little gem of a building. Canaletto was an Italian painter well known for his vivid Venetian scenes. Besides his exquisite detail, his paintings are easily recognisable from his depiction of water that looked very much like a sea of white worms. (At least that’s how I interpret them). Other examples of his work can be found in the National Art Gallery, in Trafalgar Square. Otherwise, replicas can be seen in the ceiling of Macau Hotel with a huge one at the entrance.
Besides his art collection and exquisite drawings, the main essence of the building was of course the architecture and the thoughtful interior details. Alex, as usual, was feeding me with stories about this architect he read before the visit.
It was Sir John Soane’s will to convert his house into a museum upon his death. The museum funded by his inheritance for well over 100 years!, so one can imagine how wealthy he was at his time. Most of the furniture in the house was in extremely good condition and of good quality despite being more than a century old! Our last Ikea bookshelves only lasted us about 2 years, because they were too flimsy to hold some of our thick books! We replaced them with more Ikea bookshelves.
When his personal funds was exhausted, the museum expenses now relies on funding from the government and donations, ensuring that the museum is still free to visit. It is definitely well worth a visit, especially for anyone with an interest in buildings, architecture or interior design.
One of John Soane’s built works is the Bank of England, which is still standing proudly in front of the eponymous Bank Underground Station in London.
After that, we went to a cafe for some desserts and then for a dinner at Patty and Bun with a friend. We had to queue for 30 minutes to enjoy the yummy burgers and ribs despite arriving at 6pm!
** This post was written in March. >.<