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Soane’s Regency London Revealed

— June 2011

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Sir John Soane's Museum, London

How did Sir John Soane’s family tomb inspire the design of the famous London Telephone Box? All is revealed as Sir John Soane’s Museum makes available online its unique collection of drawings, detailing the design and building of five iconic London buildings, including the Bank of England and Dulwich Picture Gallery, built 200 years ago at the height of the Regency London building boom.

Sir John Soane’s architectural drawings for five striking London buildings, including designs for his family tomb in St Pancras Gardens, which inspired Gilbert Scott’s prototype for the red telephone box, have been published on his museum’s website at to an £80,000 grant from the Designation Development Fund from Renaissance Funding, administered by the Museums, Libraries & Archives (MLA).
The new ‘Building Sites’ catalogues comprise 2,200 drawings for the design of Dulwich Picture Gallery, The Bank of England, The Royal Hospital Chelsea, The Soane Monument in St Pancras Gardens and Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing.

Tim Knox, Director of Sir John Soane’s Museum, explains:

Sir John Soane was responsible for some of the greatest buildings of his age and this project offers us all a glimpse of the evolution of these masterpieces.

Soane wanted his unique house and its incredible collection to be preserved as a learning resource and as an academy of architecture. Publishing these internationally important architectural drawings online, which reveal the fascinating journey of creation for five major Soane building sites, makes the Museum’s collection available to an even wider audience and we are delighted to have done this thanks to the generous support of the MLA’s Designation Development Fund and our five partners: Dulwich Picture Gallery; The Bank of England; The Royal Hospital Chelsea; the London Borough of Ealing who run Pitzhanger Manor; and the London Borough of Camden, custodians of The Soane Monument.

As well as creating a fantastic new learning resource, the project has enabled the Museum to give a year’s employment to three young graduates who have learned to catalogue under the tuition and supervision of Jill Lever, former curator of the Royal Institute of British Drawings Collection.

The new online catalogue displays an image for every entry.

SEE An art book for children: A dog’s-eye view of an architect’s household in the May issue of Cassone – online now



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