Number 13 Staircase Recesses
The autumn of 2012 will see the reinstallation to their correct arrangements of two original features of Soane’s staircase in Number 13 – the Tivoli and Shakespeare Recesses. The Shakespeare Recess, Soane’s tribute to one of his heroes constructed in 1829, had been narrowed as part of the building works undertaken by the Curator James Wild in the 1890s, and requires major construction work to restore both Soane’s original arrangement and stained glass, and the walls marbled to return to its former glory. The Tivoli Recess, between the second and third floors, has had an even less auspicious recent history. Originally built by Soane to house his collection of neo-classical sculpture, by 1918 this had been converted into a staff toilet. Restoration will involve the reinstallation of the recess’s domed ceiling and skylights (probably removed in 1918), along with the original decorative ornaments from the ceiling, a sunburst in the centre and eagles fighting snakes in the corners.