Thursday, January 26, 2023

Sir John Sloan's Museum

 Sir John Soane's Museum is situated at Number 13, Lincoln's Inn Field. 

We did walk past it a few times because we went the wrong way round the square.

I was very keen to see it. It's  just the house of a very marvellous architect that liked to collect art. I knew it was stuffed full of all kinds of treasures.

I didn’t know it was free! And run by volunteers. So we joined the queue outside. The queue was only so the lovely lady could place my handbag in a plastic carrier bag, and advised me to hold it in front of me- the way Americans hold their groceries on TV. (Is that true?)

Once we entered the house we realised why.  One wrong move and a work of art worth millions could be toppled to the ground. These are very bad pics taken on my phone.  I was holding the bag remember. Alan got much better pics, but they are for another blog.

I was fascinated by it all, there was a Turner here, a Hogarth there.

And the sculpture round the central courtyard was to die for.

So, we are talking the 1830’s. It was all collected by the famous neoclassical architect John Soane (1753-1837).

The building itself looks like all the others in the square but this one had been designed and built by Soane, taking the footprint of the pre-existing buildings that he then modified to make a home. Then he moved into the buildings on either side. In the end, he had numbers 13, 12 and 14. At least.

He even has the sarcophagus of Pharaoh Seti I.

In 1833, the architect left his entire collection to the State. As long as it would be made into a museum. open to the public, he was happy. He wished that the spaces be left the way he left them.

The whole set up is mind blowing, all these ancient objects are up close and personal, visitors have to squeeze past. You can imagine Sir John sitting there, with his feet up, having a cup of tea, looking at the collection. He was very fond of natural light, he liked domes on the roof with a central glass panel so the light floated down and is refracted throughout the space.

Similarly, his portrait is surrounded by panels of mirrors which look unremarkable until viewed  when standing in front of the fire. The image is caught in the reflection, again and again, to infinity.

Insert comment here along the lines of ‘Typical man.’

I couldn’t find out who dud the dusting.

Here's my very bad photographs, but they give a good idea of how Sloan's collection is so very cramped, and very fascinating.

This last pic is a painting of Lady Hamilton.
The one Lord Nelson had an affair with.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my god. It looks just the way I like things to be. Snug. Though it may be a bit of a risk for a cat to manuever about, let along a dog. A must visit on my next trip to London! Thanks, Caro.