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Soane’s exquisite Royal Academy lecture drawings form the basis of an exploration of his ideas on ornament – one of the most contentious issues for architects in Soane’s time and today.

The question of ornament – the embellishment of a building with figurative or decorative elements – has been one of the most hotly contested issues in architectural debate over the last two hundred years. Attempting to reframe the debate, this exhibition looks at Soane’s ideas and theories on ornament as articulated in the lectures he gave in his capacity as Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Ranging from pre-history to buildings contemporary to Soane, the exhibition considers notions of meaning, character, form and appropriateness, and the ways Soane saw ornament as situating a building within a broader culture of ideas across time.


This exhibition is kindly supported by Nicholas and Judith Goodison's Charitable Settlement.

Image: Office of John Soane, Corinthian capital detail, Temple of Castor and Pollux, Rome, c.1806-9

Event Info

12 Sep 2018 to 14 Oct 2018