The Wall Street Journal published a great article this weekend about Sir John Soane’s Museum in London which I was happy to stumble upon as I was reminded of some sneaky photos (can’t stop, won’t stop) that have remained unshared from our visit almost two years ago.

In a city with behemoths like the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert, Sir John Soane’s Museum is a more unassuming presence, but still delivers inspiration in a big way.

Comprised of three adjacent townhouses purchased and combined in the late 17th and early 18th centuries by one of England’s most venerable architects, Sir John Soane, the museum is chockablock–literally floor to ceiling–with Soane’s various collections.

At every turn you’re visually assaulted with corbels, capitals, friezes, funerary urns, bits of entablature, pieces of architrave, architectural models, drawings, and paintings, all meticulously arranged and hung to impart optimal effect.

There are over 40,000 objects total (you might say Sir John Soane was the original maximalist) acquired and assembled over a lifetime. If you’ve been to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, consider Sir John Soane’s Museum the British pre-curser.

Unlike Barnes (watch The Art of the Steal for the backstory here), Soane’s wishes that his home remain intact and open to the public free of charge (save for “wet or dirty weather”) were protected by an Act of Parliament.

It really is a fantastic gem that I hope to return to again one day and highly suggest visiting if you should find yourself in London.


  1. That looks pretty incredible. I will definitely check it out next time I’m in London. I’m thrown by the wall color but I’d want to see it in person to decide whether I love it or hate it…

    • The wall color was pretty amazing in person! Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but I always love to see how unabashedly bold people were with color in historic homes.

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  3. What a lovely collection! Soane had such a gift with architectural design, and its wonderful that this exhibit exists (and free of charge!) to showcase his work, and maybe offer a bit of inspiration to aspiring architects. Thanks for sharing!

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