The John Soane Museum in London has opened the architect’s private apartments and model room to the public for the first time in more than 160 years
The rooms on the second floor of 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields were brought back to life by conservation specialist Julian Harrap Architects.
The work is part of the museum’s Opening up the Soane project and will see many of the items previously hidden in the rooms including models, drawings, watercolour and stained glass go on display.
In 1834, three years before his death, Soane decided to transform his wife Eliza’s bedroom, left preserved since her death in 1815, into his model room. The room featured a custom-built central stand displaying some of Soane’s 121 architectural models.
The model room and the entire second floor were altered after Soane’s death when they were converted into the curator’s private living quarters.
Based on detailed drawings, sketches and watercolours from the time, Julian Harrap Architects has been able to reinstate the rooms to their original condition.
John Soane’s Museum director, Abraham Thomas said: ‘It is wonderful to see Soane’s private apartments and model room reopen, so that they can be enjoyed by future visitors as he intended. Unseen in over 160 years, the restoration of the second floor offers an intriguing view into regency life and will allow visitors to further explore the astonishing collection of the museum.
‘They also are a stunning demonstration of how a combination of in-depth research and skilled craftsmanship can return historic environments to their former glory. Soane’s model collection was also at the heart of his endeavour to ensure his museum was a space for learning and inspiration, and architectural models continue to have that function today.’