Key Facts About the Soane

The facts

The architect Sir John Soane's house, museum and library at No 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields has been a public museum since the early 19th century.

Soane demolished and rebuilt three houses in succession on the north side of Lincoln's Inn Fields, beginning with No. 12 between 1792 and 1794, moving on to No. 13, re-built in two phases in 1808-9 and 1812, and concluding with No. 14, rebuilt in 1823-24.

On his appointment to the Royal Academy in 1806 Soane (1753-1837) began to arrange his collected books, classical antiquities casts and models, so that students of architecture might benefit from access to them and proposed opening his house for the use of the Royal Academy students the day before and the day after each of his lectures. By 1827, when John Britton published the first description of the Museum, Soane's collection was being referred to as an 'Academy of Architecture'.  

In 1833 he negotiated an Act of Parliament to preserve the house and collection after his death for the benefit of 'amateurs and students' in architecture, painting and sculpture.

Today Sir John Soane's Museum is one of the country's most unusual and significant museums with a continuing and developing commitment to education and creative inspiration.

The Museum is open free of charge from Tuesday to Saturday inclusive, 10am-5pm (last entry 4.30pm). Also on the first Tuesday evening of each month for candlelit visits, 6-9pm. There is no advance booking for these popular evenings. Closed Sunday, Monday, bank holidays and Christmas Eve. We offer a Museum tour each Saturday at 11.00am. We do not take bookings for the tour or for Saturday visits. Midweek tours run every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Tuesday and Friday tours begin at 11.30am and finish at 12.30pm.  Wednesday and Thursday tours begin at 3.30pm and finish at 4.30pm. Tours cost £10 and tickets go on sale 30 minutes before the start of the tour. Places are available to book on the Midweek Tours through the website at www.soane.org/your_visit/Tours.

Sir John Soane's Museum is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) whose prime sponsor is the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Some Figures

The Soane Museum provides a comprehensive insight into the architect's work containing 2,523 Soane Drawings bound in 37 Volumes, 8,044 of his loose or framed drawings and Soane's archive of personal and business papers.
162 Architectural models and an impressive 17,474 Architectural drawings and prints housed in the museum support its status as an Academy of Architecture as do a myriad of artefacts, antiquities and art including:-

  • 5888 Egyptian, Greek and Roman artefacts and antiquities
  • 323 Gems
  • 202 Engraved seals
  • 70 Medieval objects
  • 24 Italian and Northern Renaissance bronzes
  • 495 pieces of sculpture, including 117 Works by named English Sculptors
  • 30 Natural objects and curiosities, from fossils to mummified cats
  • 442 Plaster casts (from antique and renaissance buildings or works of art)
  • 69 Oriental or South American objects:
  • 104 Stained glass subject panels
  • 331 Paintings and drawings (excluding architectural drawings)
  • 7783 books.