The Book Passage
This small corridor-like space was furnished with two bookcases and contained some of the 7,000 volumes which formed Soane’s library. Many of the volumes appear to have belonged to Eliza Soane who was commemorated in the nearby Oratory. In addition to the books, a number of ‘unusual’ artefacts were displayed here, including two naturally mummified cats. Though small, the Book Passage was lit dramatically by a skylight with a shaft that pierced the third-floor rooms and by panels of stained glass inserted into two of the doors in the Passage. The upper part of the shaft was hung with paintings, including the portrait of Soane as a young man, c. 1776, by Christopher Hunneman. As part of the restoration of the Book Passage, the bookcases and cat mummies will be replaced, and the skylight will once again illuminate this part of the Museum.