The Soane Museum Study Group is an open forum for scholars – both established and emerging – to present new research into aspects of architectural history and Soane’s collection in an informal setting. For this third session of 2017, Alexandra Politis presents her work on the first guidebook to the Soane Museum.  

Refreshments will be available. All are welcome. 

On arrival please come to the front door of no. 14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields.


From House-Museum to Drawing: Visual deviations in the first guidebook to the Soane Museum


John Britton’s The Union of Architecture, Sculpture and Painting (1827) was the first guidebook to the Soane museum. Alongside the textual description, both the museum’s system of unique spaces and its collection are represented using architectural drawing types more frequently associated with the architectural design process than the presentation of the built form. In the case of The Union, we have the material collection itself as a resource to consider in tandem with the guidebook. By comparing the guidebook to the museum, this paper attempts to form an understanding of the layers of representation offered by Britton. Of particular interest is the meaning readers would derive from these images and texts bound together in the specific arrangement in The Union, and what sort of demands these particular visual conventions make on the public eye.


Alexandra Politis is currently writing-up her PhD at the University of East Anglia in collaboration with Sir John Soane’s Museum. She received her Masters degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art with a focus on architectural history. She was one of the first volunteers to participate in the Soane volunteering programme, during which she engaged closely with the visitor experience, the interpretation of the house-museum and the collection therein. She works in communications for a London-based architecture practice.

Event Info

19 Sep 2017

18:30 - 20:30