Sir John Soane and others

Building a Dialogue: the Architect and the Client, Sir John Soane’s Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2, until 9th May 2015

Joseph Michael Gandy Perspective of eight designs for churches, with plan 1834, Pencil, pen and ink and watercolour, 745 x 1320mm Courtesy of Sir John Soane’s Museum

Joseph Michael Gandy
Perspective of eight designs for churches, with plan
1834, Pencil, pen and ink and watercolour, 745 x 1320mm
Courtesy of Sir John Soane’s Museum

As the title suggests this exhibition examines the relationship between client (state or private) and architect over several centuries, although as one would expect it concentrates on some of Soane’s commissions including the Dulwich Picture Gallery and Marylebone’s Holy Trinity Church, which is now known as the venue One Marylebone.

Sir John Soane Perspective of the East Front of Dulwich Picture Gallery 1812, Pen and ink, and wash, 278 x 440mm Courtesy of Sir John Soane’s Museum

Sir John Soane
Perspective of the East Front of Dulwich Picture Gallery
1812, Pen and ink, and wash, 278 x 440mm
Courtesy of Sir John Soane’s Museum

While not all relationships were fraught the visitor learns how Sir Christopher Wren’s original plans for the Royal Naval Hospital were vetoed by the King as it would have meant the loss of Inigo Jones’ Queens House and of the problems Soane faced with his plans for Holy Trinity Church from both the Commissioners and the Parish.

Joseph Michael Gandy RA Lecture Drawing, Privy Council Chamber c. 1827, Pencil, pen and ink, and watercolour, 950 x 720mm Courtesy of Sir John Soane’s Museum

Joseph Michael Gandy
RA Lecture Drawing, Privy Council Chamber
c. 1827, Pencil, pen and ink, and watercolour, 950 x 720mm
Courtesy of Sir John Soane’s Museum

The exhibition also looks at how architects could “promote” their ability though published works such as The Thorpe Album from the late 16th century or The Works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam (1778). The Museum’s director Abraham Thomas says of this enjoyable show: “Architectural drawings have a profound ability to record and articulate the various design discussions that occur within an office or between an architect and a client. I’m delighted that this exhibition not only draws upon gems from the Museum’s collection of over 30,000 architectural drawings, but also reminds us that Sir John Soane’s home was the site of a busy architectural practice, embedded in the heart of the building, where such conversations happened every day. The exhibition also makes a connection between historical and contemporary contexts, by exploring the multi-faceted ways in which architects, especially Soane himself, have always engaged with, and re-defined, the notion of a ‘client’ – showing us how design ideas have continued to express themselves through the drawing process, from Soane’s time through to the present day.”

John Thorpe ‘IT’ House from the Thorpe Album c. 1580, Pen and ink, 4310 x 280mm Courtesy of Sir John Soane’s Museum

John Thorpe
‘IT’ House from the Thorpe Album
c. 1580, Pen and ink, 4310 x 280mm
Courtesy of Sir John Soane’s Museum

http://www.soane.org

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