Sir John Soane’s Museum
Sir John Soane was a popular British architect of the 19th century, not least for bequeathing his house to the nation when he died in 1837, turning into one of the smaller museums in London. His greatest work was his design of the Bank of England – sadly this was later replaced, but since he used his home as a test-bed for his grand designs (produced in miniature and crammed into every inch), it has become a pilgrimage for architects and historians alike. Indeed, as a prolific collector with considerable taste – and a fabulous eccentric streak – he also attracts art lovers with his Hogarth series (including The Rake’s Progress) and his Turners (he was great friends with the artist), and attracts archaeologists with his sarcophagus of Pharaoh Seti I (c.1,370 BC) that at the time was deemed too pricey for the British Museum. None of the above? You still count! Soane’s appeal for all is in the townhouse’s original (and mostly preserved) function as a home, so also on view are his breakfast parlour, drawing rooms, kitchen and study – all of course designed by Soane’s gifted hand.