Sir John Soane (1753-1837)

John Soane, the son of a bricklayer, was born near Reading, and educated there before being trained as an architect under George Dance the Younger. He then worked for Henry Holland, at the same time studying at the Royal Academy, where he won a travelling scholarship which allowed him to spend time in Italy developing his own style. He returned to London in 1780 as a Neo-Classical architect. He became architect and surveyor to the Bank of England in 1788, and his new exterior to that building is his most famous work. He became ARA in 1795, and full RA in 1802. Soane's own house, designed by him, which he left to the nation as the John Soane Museum, contains many models and drawings of his works, as well as art of all kinds in what I count as one of the best smaller museums in London. Among other existing public buildings in London by Soane are the Dulwich Picture Gallery south of the Thames, and Pitshanger Manor in Ealing. His churches in London include St John's Bethnal Green, Trinity Church Marylebone, and St Peter's Walworth.

The Bank of England, by Soane.

Among his many honours was to become Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy (1806-1837), where he was a rather controversial figure.

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