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Our trails guide you around the museum, revealing the hidden connections between Soane’s objects. Print one and bring it along when you visit – there are lots to choose from.
Our trail for budding young architects is a great way to explore the Museum, revealing hidden connections between objects. We also have a trail for our current exhibition.
Soane’s collection features quite a few personalities: his family, friends, professional connections, and people he admired. On this trail, you’ll meet Soane himself, his beloved wife Eliza, and their ‘cruel and flinty-hearted sons’. And you’lldiscover how figures like Napoleon, Shakespeare and Oliver Cromwell influenced Soane’s life and work.
In this trail, you’ll see how Soane’s lifelong love of literature influenced both his collecting and the architecture of his home. You’ll learn how he paid homage to his literary heroes, like Milton and Shakespeare, whose works feature in his collection. And you’ll see how the museum itself has been depicted in literature.
Explore London through Soane’s collection. See its buildings: those still standing, long vanished, imagined and fragmentary. Come face to face with the city’s artists and architects, kings and heroes, rogues and adventurers. See the city’s greatest events – and the day-to-day lives of its people.
Many Britons – including Keats, Byron, and Hazlitt – were fascinated by Napoleon. And so was Sir John Soane. Soane admired Napoleon’s influence on Parisian architecture, and added many Napoleonic items to his collection. You’ll discover them on this trail.
Soane was a man ahead of his time. He innovated by using hollow terracotta bricks in his buildings and was one of the first architects to use plate glass. On this trail, you’ll explore Soane’s use of new technologies and materials – from the extraordinary movable walls he designed to display his paintings, to his pioneering (though temperamental) underfloorheating systems.
How do we preserve this wonderful building and collection? How do we keep it open to all, while protecting it from damage by bags, shoes, and elbows? Not to mention dirt, dust, light, and pests? Find out on this trail, as you experience the museum through the eyes of our conservators, curators and Visitor Assistants.
Sir John Soane and the sculptor John Flaxman were both professors at the Royal Academy – and friends. Eight years after Flaxman’s death in 1826, his sister-in-law Maria Denman began giving Soane his drawings, 75 of his models, and 70 other objects from Flaxman’s own collections. Today, they’re hidden away in nooks and crannies all over the museum. Use this trail to find them.
Soane’s collection is rich and diverse, but there are some particularly marvellous treasures to see. Beautiful natural curiosities – like ornaments cut from ash trees and ‘antediluvian snails’. Rare Peruvian pottery from the pre-Columbian period. And the sarcophagus of Pharaoh Seti I. You’ll discover all these objects – and plenty more oddities – as you follow this trail.