The architect John Soane became an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1795, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1796 and, finally, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1821. All three were then housed in Somerset House. Soane was an avid collector and enthusiastic auto-didact, and the world of these learned societies, their libraries and museums, was the one in which he felt most at home. This talk will look at the influences upon Sir John Soane as he transformed his own house at 13 Lincolns Inn Fields into a museum, a process finalised by a private Act of Parliament passed in 1833.
Gillian Darley's John Soane: an Accidental Romantic was published in 1999 (Yale University Press). Her new book Vesuvius will be published in May 2011 by Profile Books.