Soane Museum. Sir John Soane's Museum is a house museum that was formerly the home of the neo-classical architect John Soane. It holds many drawings and models of Soane's projects and the collections of paintings, drawings and antiquities that he assembled. The museum is located in Holborn, London, adjacent to Lincoln's Inn Fields. It is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Soane demolished and rebuilt three houses in succession on the north side of Lincoln's Inn Fields. He began with No. 12, externally a plain brick house. After becoming Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy in 1806, Soane purchased No. 13, the house next door, today the museum, and rebuilt it in two phases in 1808-09 and 1812. In 1808-09 Soane constructed his drawing office and museum on the site of the former stable block at the back, using primarily top lighting. In 1812 he rebuilt the front part of the site, adding a projecting Portland Stone fašade to the basement, ground and first floor levels and the centre bay of the second floor. Originally this formed three open loggias, but Soane glazed the arches during his lifetime. Once he had moved into No. 13, Soane rented out his former home at No. 12. After completing No.13, Soane set about treating the building as an architectural laboratory, continually remodelling the interiors. In 1823, when he was over 70, he purchased a third house, No. 14, which he rebuilt in 1823-24. This project allowed him to construct a picture gallery, linked to No.13, on the former stable block of No. 14. The front main part of this third house was treated as a separate dwelling and let as an investment; it was not internally connected to the other buildings. When he died No. 14 was bequeathed to his family and passed out of the museum's ownership. The museum was established during Soane's own lifetime by a Private Act of Parliament in 1833, which took effect on Soane's death in 1837. The Act required that No. 13 be maintained as nearly as possible as it was left at the time of Soane's death, and that has largely been done. The Act was necessary because Sir John had a living direct male heir, his son George, with whom he had had a lifelong feud due to George's debts, refusal to engage in a trade, and his marriage, of which Sir John disapproved. He also wrote an anonymous, defamatory piece for the Sunday papers about Sir John, calling him a cheat, a charlatan and a copyist. Since under contemporary inheritance law George would have been able to lay claim to Sir John's property on his death, Sir John engaged in a lengthy parliamentary campaign to disinherit his son via a private Act, setting out to reverse the fundamental laws of hereditary succession. according to some. The Soane Museum Act was passed in April 1833 and stipulated that on Soane's death his house and collections would pass into the care of a Board of Trustees, on behalf of the nation, and that they should be preserved as nearly as possible exactly as they were left at his death. Towards the end of the 19th century a break-through was made to re-connect the rear rooms of No. 12 through to the museum in No. 13 and since 1969 No. The museum's trustees remained completely independent, relying only on Soane's original endowment, until 1947. Since that date the museum has received an annual Grant-in-Aid from the British Government. The Soane Museum is now a national centre for the study of architecture. From 1988 to 2005 a programme of restoration within the Museum was carried out under Peter Thornton and then Margaret Richardson with spaces such as the Drawing Rooms, Picture Room, Study and Dressing Room, Picture Room Recess and others being put back to their original colour schemes and in most cases having their original sequences of objects reinstated; Soane's three courtyards were also restored with his pasticcio being reinstated in the Monument Court at the heart of the Museum. In 1997 the trustees purchased the main house at No. 14 with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund. The house was restored and has enabled the Museum to expand its educational activities, to re-locate its Research Library into that house, and to create a Robert Adam Study Centre where Soane's collection of 9,000 Robert Adam drawings is housed in purpose-designed new cabinets by Senior and Carmichael.
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