Regency Architecture:   Sir John Soane   By Ann Lethbridge

Regency romance author, Ann Lethbridge, whose most recent book, Falling for the Highland Rogue, won the Romantic Times Knight in Shining Silver (KISS) Award, today tells us about Sir John Soane, a prominent Regency architect. She shares important information about Soane’s working style and provides images of some of his more significant buildings.

Might Sir John Soane or his buildings figure in one of your next novels?

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I thought we might focus on architecture and design occasionally over the next few months, mostly because it helps me when describing buildings. However, I will look at buildings that were around during the Regency, not just those designed and built in the period.

I did want to start with a Regency Architect and chose one of the most well known architects of the era is Sir John Soane (1753 to 1837).

Portait of Sir John Soane

Soane was the son of a bricklayer. I really like that bit of information about him. I imagine that he would have not just a feeling for the design of a building but the bones of it, the real structure. Perhaps that is why his buildings were reduced to the essentials. His father would have known the architects of the day, and he trained with Dance and Henry Holland and then studied at the Royal Academy which awarded him a scholarship to Italy.

Architects were considered of little more importance than a master craftsman during and prior to this period. He used his position of professor of architecture to have architects recognized as professionals culminating in the founding of the Institute of British Architects in 1837.

Most of Soane’s buildings are gone or have been altered beyond recognition. The Dulwich Picture Gallery as the first public art gallery in England was started in 1811 is a good example of his work.

Exterior of Dulwich Gallery, red brick building

Soane concentrated on internal spaces and lighting. He avoided dark corners, hallways and stairways. His work in the Bank of England incorporated top lighting because the building had no windows. Here is the exterior of the Bank, followed by the windows in the roof, to provide daylight from above.

Print of Bank of England exterior

Interior of skylights in Bank of England building

And finally his house/office in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which is now a museum. This picture shows the house around 1802, before the loggia were glazed in.

Print of the facade of Sir John Soane's House

Until Next Time ~~ Happy Rambles.

© 2007 – 2014 Ann Lethbridge
Originally posted at Regency Ramble
Posted at The Beau Monde by permission of the author.

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