SOANE, Sir John
(b. 1753, Goring, d. 1837, London)

Biography

English architect and collector, notable for his original, highly personal interpretations of the Neoclassical style. He is considered one of the most inventive European architects of his time.

In 1768 Soane entered the office of George Dance the Younger (1741-1825), surveyor to the City of London. In 1772 he went to Henry Holland (1745-1806)as an assistant, and from 1772 he also attended Royal Academy of Arts schools. Granted a traveling scholarship by King George III, he went to Italy in 1778.

As a country house architect, Soane had modest success until he was appointed architect to the Bank of England in 1788. Various government appointments followed, and in 1806 he succeeded Dance as professor of architecture at the Royal Academy. He was knighted in 1831.

The list of his works is extensive. Some of the finest are his rebuilding of the Bank of England (1788-1833; later rebuilt), Dulwich College Picture Gallery (1811-14), London, and his own house in London at 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields (1812-13), which is now Sir John Soane's Museum.

His style is characterized by a tendency to reduce Classical elements of design to their structural essentials, the substitution of linear for modeled ornamentation, frequent use of shallow domes and top lighting, and ingenious handling of interior space.